Follow Your Heart: Arrhythmia 101

stethescope-heart-imageMaybe your sweetheart sets your heart a’fluttering or maybe those flutters indicate a potential health issue.

Actually, it’s not just folks with a heart condition who can experience arrhythmia, which is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It’s actually fairly common. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.

However, those with underlying heart disease are at the highest risk, whether they have symptoms or lead a normal life.

According to Mitch Rogers, an administrator with Memorial Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Services, the best way to prevent arrhythmias is to prevent heart disease. He provides a few strategies below that can also aid in decreasing arrhythmias.

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Avoid or limit the intake of caffeine, alcohol and other substances that may contribute to abnormal heart rhythms, such as illegal drugs.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress.
  • Have regular physical exams and talk with your doctor.

So if your heart palpitation this month isn’t related to a sparkly Valentine Day bauble, don’t delay. When in doubt, a visit with your physician is always a smart first step.