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What should I tell my doctor about my abnormal heart rhythms?

You should tell your doctor as much as possible about your abnormal heart rhythms. Abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, occur in many different ways and can be hard to discribe. The more information you can provide your doctor the better he or she will be able to tell what is going on. This includes:
  • the context in which you have the arrhythmia
  • how long it lasts
  • what makes it better or worse
  • how often it occurs
  • if anyone else in your family has similar problems
Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
If you have an irregular and fast heartbeat -- which may be due to atrial fibrillation -- write down the symptoms or issues you've had before going to see your doctor, so that you can share this information during your visit. Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. It could be helpful to track your answers to the following questions:

- How often do you feel the arrhythmia or heart palpitations -- hourly, daily, weekly?
- Do you feel normal or weak when you have them?
- Do they make you feel faint or dizzy?
- Do you get the arrhythmia or palpitations while you are exercising or while just sitting around?
- If you have high blood pressure, what have your readings been?
- Have you been diagnosed with heart disease?
- How much caffeine do you drink each day?
- How much alcohol do you drink?
- Do you take decongestants or medications for cold symptoms or sinusitis?
- How would you describe the stress in your life (low, moderate, out of control)?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.