The condition of irregular heartbeat, in medical terms, is known as cardiac arrhythmia. Every year, the number of patients turning up for medical visits, who are diagnosed with this condition, comes up to around 850,000. While this figure may give you an impression that the condition might be something severe to worry about, the good news is, in most cases, it is too mild to require any kind of treatment. Arrhythmia is common, but harmless. However, this does not apply to everyone. There are people who come across such severe symptoms, that may make this situation a life-threatening one.
Irregular heartbeat at night, or any time of the day, may have a multitude of causes. The common ones may include medical conditions such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypertension, and any kind of heart disorder or disease. Certain medication can give rise to irregular heart rate at night. Smoking, stressful situations, and even herbal medications are some other probable causes.
One important point to take a note of is, cardiac arrhythmia can occur in a person with a healthy heart, and is not necessarily associated with an unhealthy one. In a healthy person, if a chronic case of this condition is diagnosed, then this means that the cause is some outside trigger. That could be an electric shock, or the use of illicit drugs. However, a heart that is already suffering from some sort of complication, is more likely to develop a long-lasting form of arrhythmia.
It is not likely that you would come to know that you might be suffering from this condition. This is because, in most cases, arrhythmia remains asymptomatic, and usually gets diagnosed at the doctor's, during a routine check up. Also, if you are having any of these symptoms prominently, then you should not take it for granted that you have a serious heart disease. Whether you have it or not, would only be revealed at the doctors.
Here I would like to stress on the importance of medical checkups. It helps you detect any underlying medical condition that might be troubling you, without you being aware of it. Well, coming back, here are some symptoms which may occur in a number of patients.
- Heartbeats may be slow or rapid
- A fluttering sensation in the chest
- Dizzy spells
- Shortness of breath (a common symptom)
There are several options available for the treatment of arrhythmia. Doctors treat slow heartbeats, and fast heartbeats, according to the causes. The treatment consists of different types of medication, therapy, and even medical devices (some of which may be implantable too). In case, conservative treatment methods do not produce any kind of desired result, patients have the option to opt for surgical procedures.
Apart from what the doctors recommend for dealing with irregular heartbeat at night, patients must ensure their diet and lifestyle reconcile with the requirements for maintaining good health of the heart. Some of the measures may include quitting smoking (most important), inculcating a regular exercise schedule, following a heart-healthy diet, and limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol-based products.
Going for yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises, can provide a great deal of help in reducing the stress factors, thus, helping to keep the condition from getting worse. Another important aspect to remember is to avoid OTC medicines that are prescribed for cold, or minor ailments. These are stimulants and may react negatively on the body, and aggravate the arrhythmia.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.