World Heart Rhythm Week (4th – 10th June 2018)

4th – 10th June is World Heart Rhythm Week. The annual event is organised by the Arrhythmia Alliance. The event aims to promote effective diagnoses and treatment of heart arrhythmia (a disorder affecting the rhythm of the heartbeat).  Throughout the week, charities and professionals will work together to raise awareness of heart arrhythmia amongst the medical profession and the general public. The theme for 2018 is ‘Take Fainting to Heart’.

What is Heart Arrhythmia?

Every year over 2 million people throughout the UK suffer with Arrhythmias or heart rhythm issues that can affect any age group. However, most people who are diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm, if diagnosed properly can lead a normal life. The main types of arrhythmia are:

  • Atrial fibrillation (AF) – This is the most common type, where the heart beats irregularly and faster than normal.
  • Supraventricular tachycardia – Episodes of abnormally fast heart rate at rest.
  • Bradycardia – The heart beats more slowly than normal
  • Heart block – The heart beats more slowly than normal and can cause people to collapse.
  • Ventricular fibrillation – A rare, rapid and disorganised rhythm of heartbeats that rapidly leads to loss of consciousness and sudden death if not treated immediately.

What are the symptoms?

An Arrhythmia can be silent and not cause any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include the following:

  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Fainting or near fainting spells
  • Rapid heartbeat or pounding
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • In extreme cases, collapse and sudden cardiac arrest

A doctor can detect an irregular heartbeat during a physical exam by taking your pulse or you could be referred for an ECG.

How is an Arrhythmia diagnosed?

When you visit the doctor they will review your symptoms and your medical history then conduct a physical examination. The doctor might test you for conditions that may potentially trigger your arrhythmia such as heart disease or a problem with your thyroid gland. They could also refer you for tests which may include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – During an ECG, sensors (electrodes) that can detect the electrical activity of your heart are attached to your chest and sometimes to your limbs. An ECG measures the timing and duration of each electrical phase in your heartbeat.
  • Holter monitor – This portable ECG device can be worn for a day or more to record your heart's activity as you go about your routine.
  • Event monitor – For sporadic arrhythmias, you keep this portable ECG device available, attaching it to your body and pressing a button when you have symptoms. This lets your doctor check your heart rhythm at the time of your symptoms.
  • Echocardiogram – In this noninvasive test, a hand-held device (transducer) placed on your chest uses sound waves to produce images of your heart's size, structure and motion.
  • Implantable loop recorder – This device detects abnormal heart rhythms and is implanted under the skin in the chest area.

How can I prevent an Arrhythmia?

Exercise regularly – Exercise increases your heart’s strength and stamina. It also decreases your chances of having heart issues in the future. Research is ongoing regarding the effectiveness of several forms of complementary and alternative medical therapies for arrhythmia. Some types of complementary and alternative therapies may be helpful to reduce stress, such as:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation techniques

Adopt a healthier lifestyle – Certain substances can contribute to an irregular heartbeat, reducing your intake of these substances can help with your symptoms, these substances include:

  • Caffeine
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Appetite suppressants

Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight increases your risk of developing heart disease. If you want to get involved click here to order your Arrhythmia Alliance world Heart Rhythm Week pack. You can visit our online portal, which includes 4-week programs, advice articles and webinars to help with your health and wellbeing: www.healthassuredeap.com Phone: 0800 030 5182

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