Tags: irregular heartbeat | detect | heart | symptoms

Irregular Heartbeat: How Can You Tell If You Have It?

Saturday, 21 Dec 2013 04:46 PM

Irregular heartbeat is also called arrhythmia. The heartbeat can be irregular with a normal, slow, or rapid heart rate. Thousands of people are hospitalized every year due to an irregular heartbeat. Various factors associated with an irregular heartbeat include injury arising from heart attack, coronary heart disease, irregularity in heart rhythms, and an imbalance of electrolytes in the blood.
 
Irregular heartbeat may have no symptoms associated with it that can be detected by the electrocardiogram (ECG). Symptoms associated with irregular heartbeat include discomfort in the chest, palpitations, weakness, dizziness, and shortness of breath, etc. Making changes in lifestyle such as limiting the consumption of alcohol and caffeine is a way to prevent irregular heartbeat.
 
If the irregularity in heartbeat is silent and shows no symptoms, it becomes difficult to detect. But there are some methods of detecting irregular heartbeat.
 
Checking the pulse is a very common and simple way to detect an irregular heartbeat. You can learn to check the pulse by frequently analyzing it during exercise when the heart beats faster than its normal rate. Checking it frequently may help detect abnormality during irregular heartbeat. An artificial pacemaker can help in monitoring the heart rate.
 
Detection of irregular heartbeat may vary from one individual to another. In some people, stress is the reason for an irregular heartbeat. In others, it may happen due to the intake of caffeine.
 
Various tests are conducted to diagnose irregular heartbeat and its associated symptoms. These include an ECG, a stress test, a head-up tilt table test, the holter monitor, a cardiac catheterization, an electrophysiology study, and an event monitor test.
 
In ECG, the heartbeat is detected using electrical signals. Sensors are attached to the chest or limbs to detect electrical activities. It effectively measures the timing and duration of the electrical pulses in the body.
 
The holter monitor is also a kind of wearable electrocardiogram that can be worn by the patient for one day or more to detect irregular heartbeat. The event monitor, which can be kept at home for monitoring heartbeat by the doctor, works similarly.

A stress test is conducted after exercising for a while. If the patient finds it difficult to exercise, the doctors can monitor the heart activity.

In the tilt-table test, the table where the patient is lying is tilted to detect the activity of the heartbeat.
 
These tests can accurately detect irregularity in the heartbeat even if the patients are not experiencing any symptoms.    

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An irregular heartbeat may be difficult to detect as there may not be many symptoms associated with it. Tests can check if there is any abnormality in the heart rate.
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