Rhythm of the Beat

May 13, 2015 12:17 PM

Even if you can’t dance a step, you’ve got rhythm. The rhythm of your heartbeat, that is. Most of the time it’s slow and steady, unfelt unless you listen for it. But let the baby toddle toward the stairs and your heart leaps into action, providing your legs with the power to “make the grab” in time. After such an exertion, most people have no trouble hearing their hearts beating rapidly.

Sometimes the heartbeat can get our of sync and the rhythm becomes erratic; it’s called an arrhythmia. Periods of irregular beats can feel like a fluttering in the chest or neck and resolve themselves in a few seconds. If these erratic periods become extended, blood flow throughout the body and to the brain is compromised. Lightheadedness and even passing out can occur.

There are many types of arrhythmias from occasional skipped or irregular beats, to long periods of uncoordinated beating called fibrillation. Arrhythmias are classified by their location in the heart – the atria (upper chambers) or ventricles (lower chambers). Arrhythmias can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and can even be fatal. Electrocardiograms (EKGs) and echocardiograms are quick, painless tests that let your doctor see what’s going on electrically and mechanically inside your heart.

Don’t let an arrhythmia interrupt your lifestyle’s pace. Treatments for an irregular heartbeat can range from lifestyle modification, to medications, to procedures. Let your HackensackUMG primary care physician or cardiologist guide you to the screenings and treatments you need. Remember, your heart is one of a kind and deserves individualized care.


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