Breadcrumb Home Patient Resources. Disease Categories Electrical : Abnormal heart rhythms arrhythmias are caused by problems with the electrical system that regulates the steady heartbeat. In AFib, the heartbeat is irregular and rapid due to disorganized signals from the heart's electrical system.
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The upper chambers of the heart may beat as often as - times a minute, about four times faster than normal. Though AFib isn't life threatening, it can lead to other rhythm problems, feeling tired all the time, and heart failure with symptoms such as filling up with fluid, swelling of the hands, legs and feet, and shortness of breath.
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People with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke than people without the condition. Doctors often prescribe blood thinners anticoagulants to patients with AFib to reduce this higher risk of stroke. However, AFL is caused by a single electrical wave that circulates very rapidly in the atrium, about times a minute. This leads to a very fast, but steady, heartbeat.
It can also increase the risk of a stroke. Sick Sinus Syndrome SSS ; Sick sinus syndrome is not a disease, but a group of signs or symptoms that show that the heart's natural electrical pacemaker, the sinus node, is not working properly. In SSS, the heart rate can alternate between slow bradycardia and fast tachycardia , often in combination with atrial fibrillationor atrial flutter. Treatment of SSS usually involves implanting a pacemaker, often along with medication. Sinus Tachycardia A harmless faster rhythm, sinus tachycardia is a normal increase in heart rate that happens with fever, excitement, and exercise.
There is no need for treatment, except in cases when it is caused by an underlying problem, such as anemia a low blood count or hyperthyroidism overactive thyroid gland , or rarely, happens frequently and without a clear cause inappropriate sinus Tachucardia. Arrhythmias that occur in the heart's lower chambers, the ventricles, include: Ventricular Tachycardia VT A life-threatening arrhythmia, ventricular tachycardia is usually seen along with other serious heart disease but sometimes happens in people with normal hearts.
Because VT can lead to ventricular fibrillation a dangerously fast and disorganized heartbeat , it is a serious condition that needs aggressive treatment and follow up.
People with VT are often protected by a defibrillator a device that can shock the heart out of the dangerous heartbeat that is implanted in the body. In VF, the heartbeat is fast and chaotic, causing the lower heart chambers, or ventricles, to spasm.
VF is sudden, happens without warning, and stops the heart from working. The lack of oxygen to the body, especially to the brain, is deadly. SCA is caused by an electrical problem and although it can be triggered by a heart attack myocardial infarction , a circulatory plumbing problem caused by clogged blood vessels that cut off the supply of blood to the heart, it is not the same as a heart attack. Though CPR may help, the only truly effective VF treatment is defibrillation, which uses paddles or electrodes to "shock" the heart back to normal rhythm. Without treatment, a person with VF will pass out suddenly and die.
Other terms to know include: Premature Contractions Extra, early, or "skipped" beats are the most common cause of irregular heart rhythms.
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These can start in the upper or lower chambers of the heart atrial or ventricular premature contractions. A repeat attack may feel very different. Both men and women can feel the classic crushing chest pain or tightness called unstable angina , but they often report very different symptoms. Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack and getting treated right away can save your life.
Use this condition center to learn more. Experts develop a risk model to identify which elderly adults are likely to experience complications after a heart attack. Better screening could reduce unnecessary tests and procedures in patients being evaluated for heart disease, study finds.
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Experts urge women to call at first signs of heart attack, based on study that highlights delays in treatment. Maintaining good health reduces risk for heart attack, stroke and death, shows Korean study of 6.
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Analysis of U. Women often experience heart attack symptoms differently than men. It's important for a woman to be able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and react quickly by calling It's important for men to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, remain calm and quickly call Under no circumstances should men try to "tough it out. Heart Attack. Helpful Resources.
Related Fact Sheets. Related Conditions. Heart attacks happen when the heart's blood supply is suddenly cut off, making immediate care critical. Learn more about Heart Attack.
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