What Are the Complications of Arrhythmia?

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Posted May 1st, 2019 in Health & Wellbeing, Dealing With Chronic Illness

What Are the Complications of Arrhythmia?

Harold was 76 and had always enjoyed good health. Lately, he had noticed that his heart sometimes felt like it skipped a beat and he had a sensation of fluttering in his chest. At first, he didn’t think it was anything to worry about and figured it would go away. One day, his son, Ryan, noticed his father rubbing his chest and worried that something was wrong. When he asked Harold about it, Harold reluctantly admitted that his heart was beating strangely. Ryan knew the problem could be serious, so he encouraged his father to see a doctor. The two learned that Harold had something called arrhythmia, and it could, indeed, be a dangerous condition.

What is Arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia happens when there is a problem with the electrical signals that control how the heart beats. It can cause the heart to beat too quickly, too slowly, or beat in an irregular fashion. Sometimes arrhythmias are mild and don’t cause problems. They’re just a nuisance. Other times, they can pose a threat to a senior’s life.

Sometimes arrhythmias don’t cause noticeable symptoms. They may be discovered when a doctor performs tests for other things or during a regular examination.

When symptoms are noticeable, they may include:

  • A feeling of something fluttering in the chest.
  • Feeling like the heart is racing.
  • A slow heartbeat.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Sweating.
  • Fainting.

What Problems Can Arrhythmia Cause?

Again, some arrhythmias are harmless. However, it’s best to report symptoms to the doctor because they can sometimes be a sign of something worse happening. Two serious complications that arrhythmias put your aging relative at risk for are:

Heart Failure: When the heart beats improperly for a while due to certain kinds of arrhythmias, it can lead to heart failure. Sometimes the treatment of arrhythmia can improve the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently.

Stroke: Some kinds of arrhythmias can make blood collect in the heart. Clots can develop in the pooled blood. If a blood clot moves into a blood vessel and travels to the brain, it can stop blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke. Doctors may prescribe blood thinners to prevent clotting.

If your aging relative has arrhythmia, home care can help them to stick to the treatment plan for managing it. A home care provider can remind the older adult to take the medications prescribed to prevent stroke or treat an arrhythmia that could cause heart failure. Also, if an emergency situation arises, a home care provider can call 911 to get the senior the help they need.

Sources:  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8887.php

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-arrhythmia/symptoms-causes/syc-20350668

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/arrhythmia

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