Understanding Your Risk for Arrhythmia
An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat that may cause the heart to beat too slowly, too quickly, or irregularly. These types of heart conditions aren’t always a cause for concern. However, you may need to be evaluated by a heart doctor , since some arrhythmias can lead to life-threatening complications. Certain risk factors may increase the likelihood that you’ll be diagnosed with an arrhythmia, including other cardiovascular conditions and non-cardiac conditions.
Cardiovascular Risk Factors
If you already have a heart condition, you may be at a greater risk of developing an arrhythmia. These conditions include having heart failure, which is characterized by the inability of the heart to pump a sufficient volume of blood. Heart valve diseases, which can involve narrowed or leaking heart valves, can place the heart under significant stress and may lead to heart failure. Other cardiovascular issues that may increase your risk of an arrhythmia include congenital heart defects, high blood pressure, having previously suffered a heart attack, and having previously undergone heart surgery.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, having a certain type of sleep disorder can increase your risk of an arrhythmia . Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing periodically stops and restarts during sleep. This can lead to heart conditions such as an abnormal heartbeat because the heart becomes deprived of oxygen. Other non-cardiovascular conditions that may increase your risk include having hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, having an imbalance of electrolytes in the bloodstream, and having diabetes. Diabetes indirectly increases the risk of an abnormal heartbeat because it contributes to high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
Lifestyle Risk Factors
Consuming alcohol to excess can increase your risk of a number of health problems, including heart rhythm problems. This is because alcohol can affect the electrical impulses that control the heartbeat, which may raise your risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Caffeine, nicotine, and illegal stimulants such as amphetamine and cocaine are other lifestyle risk factors of heart rhythm problems.
If you’ve been diagnosed with heart conditions in Phoenix, you can find the help you need at Cardiac Solutions. Our cardiologists work closely with each patient to develop a comprehensive, personalized treatment program for arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, and other heart conditions. Call our clinic at (623) 876-8816 to schedule an appointment with a heart doctor today.