Many arrhythmias are harmless. It's common to have an occasional extra heartbeat and not even b
Many arrhythmias are harmless. It's common to have an occasional extra heartbeat and not even be aware of it, or to only have mild palpitations. People who have harmless arrhythmias can live healthy lives and usually don't need treatment for their arrhythmias.
Even people who have serious arrhythmias often are treated successfully and lead normal lives.
Ongoing Care: If you have an arrhythmia that requires treatment, you should:
- Keep all of your medical appointments. Always bring all medicines you're taking to all of your doctor visits. This helps ensure that all of your doctors know exactly what medicines you're taking, which can help prevent medication errors.
- Follow your doctor's instructions for taking medicines. Check with your doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines, nutritional supplements, or cold and allergy medicines.
- Tell your doctor if you're having side effects from your medicines. Side effects could include depression and palpitations. These side effects often can be treated.
- Tell your doctor if arrhythmia symptoms are getting worse or if you have new symptoms.
- Allow your doctor to check you regularly if you're taking blood-thinning medicines.
Ask your doctor whether vagal maneuvers are an option for you. These exercises, which people who have certain arrhythmias can do, may help stop a rapid heartbeat.
Lifestyle Changes: Many arrhythmias are caused by underlying heart disease. Keep your heart healthy by following a healthy diet.
A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. A healthy diet is low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugar.
A healthy lifestyle also includes doing physical activity regularly, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping your blood cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels.
This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.Many arrhythmias are harmless. It's common to have an occasional extra heartbeat and not even b Many arrhythmias are harmless. It's common to have an occasional extra heartbeat and not even be aware of it, or to only have mild palpitations. People... More
Living with an arrhythmia can be hard. The real answer is, "it all depends". Arrhythmia is when the heart beats funny. It can skip, race, or even go too slow. Sometimes it beats so abnormally it can't pump the blood effectively. So the first step is to see a cardiologist, or even an electrophysiologist, to know that the arrhythmia isn't dangerous. The doctor will discuss treatment options for you. Some arrhythmias can be treated, so you don't have to live with it at all. However, if this isn't the case then you might be stuck with it.
Step 1: Know for sure that the arrhythmia won't hurt you. Lots of times the irregular rhythm feels bad, but it isn't dangerous. When your doctor is sure, you can be sure. Work on not being afraid. Talk with your doctor. It may help to learn some techniques for calming your fear if this is a problem for you. Some patients benefit from biofeedback training.
Step 2: Know what can make it come on, and what can make it go away. Sometimes caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol can bring the arrhythmia on. So don't do these. BUT if the arrhythmia is mild, and your doctor says it is OK, then a drink in the evening causing a little irregular heart beat is no big deal. If you can make it go away by relaxing, or taking a pill from your doctor, this is good. Some special types of arrhythmia can be stopped by rubbing the carotid artery or straining with your abdomen (Valsalva maneuver): your doctor will tell you.
Step 3: Be alert for "something different". If you've been living with your arrhythmia, you know how it feels. If it changes, be aware. Maybe it used to last 5 seconds, and now it is going for an hour. You feel dizzy for the first time. You'll have to decide, but you may need to seek medical attention.
Step 4: Learn to live with it. Some friends are not the most welcome, but they won't go away. Fighting doesn't work. There probably isn't another doctor "out there" who can "do what no other doctor has been able to do". If it hasn't hurt you so far, and your doctor says it won't hurt you, and you've been living with it, then smile and accept it. This is a part of you.Living with an arrhythmia can be hard. The real answer is, "it all depends". Arrhythmia is when the heart beats funny. It can skip, race, or even go too slow. Sometimes it beats so abnormally it can't pump the blood effectively. So the first step is... More