The science behind arrhythmias is quite complex; however, for the purpose of guarding your own health, it is sufficient to understand what arrhythmias are, what causes them, and what treatment looks like. (1*)
Electrical impulses trigger the heart to contract. Arrhythmias occur when there are abnormalities in these impulses and/or their conduction. There are many different types of arrhythmias. Some are harmless; others can be life threatening. If you suspect you have an arrhythmia, seek medical attention immediately.
Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common arrhythmias. Atrial fibrillation occurs when electrical impulses are triggered from many areas proximate to the atria rather than the sinoatrial node. This causes the atrial walls not contract normally; as a result, they do not help pump blood into the ventricles effectively, reducing the amount of blood that the heart pumps by about ten percent. This lowered output can be dangerous for people who have heart disease, particularly when they exert themselves. (2*)
Some causes of arrhythmias include heart disorders, high blood pressure, hyper/hypo-thyroidism, electrolyte imbalances (particularly magnesium or potassium), drug use (prescription, alcohol, stimulants, or drugs), and hypoxia. Furthermore, users of anabolic steroids, is that anabolic steroids and stimulants commonly used as cutting agents, have been linked to arrhythmias. Likewise, cardiac remodeling from performance enhancing drug use, such as left ventricle hypertrophy, can also be a cause of arrhythmias. (3*)
This analysis can be quite complex so it is very important to have an expert read your ECG, which will most likely be a cardiologist. (4*)
Accordingly, there is not a blanket one-size fits all treatment for arrhythmias. Some common treatments include: pacemakers, drugs, surgery, and cardioverson-defibrillation.
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