Heart Rhythm Disorder Basics

At Rainy Lake Medical Center, one of the areas of our medical clinic we’re most proud of is our cardiology department. We can help with everything from diagnostic services to cardiac rehab for major conditions, helping you and your family stay on track here if you have any risk factors.

One common heart-related condition that we regularly see is a heart rhythm disorder, which can occur when unusual electrical activity leads to issues with the way the heart beats. These issues affect tens of millions of people every year, and while most cases are minor and not serious, others can be life-threatening. Here are some basics on each of the three common types of heart rhythm disorders.

Slow Heart Beats

When the heart beats too slowly, this is often due to blood pressure not being high enough to support what the body needs. This can lead to fatigue, lightheadedness and passing out, and in the worst cases may lead to the heart ceasing to beat altogether.

There are two primary treatment methods for slow heart rhythms: Stopping medications that might be causing the issue (this is common), or implanting a pacemaker in the patient. Pacemakers may be used even on patients who don’t necessarily have visible symptoms – they’re sometimes meant for people who simply have a high risk of a slowed heart beat developing.

Fast Heart Beats

There are several different specific classifications when it comes to rapid heart rhythms, from mild palpitations up to severe symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath and even death. Your treatments here will range widely, and may include medications, defibrillators or the use of cardiac ablation (catheters) to help.

Uncoordinated Heart Beats

This is another more recently discovered heart rhythm disorder, one where the left and right chambers of the heart are not coordinated in their electrical impulses. This leads to improper squeezing of muscles in the heart as it attempts to pump blood, and some blood will remain in the heart rather than being pumped to areas where it’s needed. A defibrillator can be used here to help pace the electrical stimuli inside the heart.

For more on heart rhythm disorders, or to learn about any of our other family health clinic services, contact the staff at Rainy Lake Medical Center today.

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