Atrial Fibrillation & Strokes
Atrial fibrillation is a serious condition that can be life-threatening. As many as six million people in the US may have atrial fibrillation. But one in three people who have A-Fib dont know they have it.
A-Fib may also increase your chances of having a stroke.
Thats because A-Fibs irregular heartbeat lets blood pool inside the upper chambers of your heart. This pooled blood can cause blood clots, which can then travel out of your heart and into your brain, which causes a stroke.
If you think you may have A-Fib, its important to make an appointment with a cardiologist.
What Are Heart Palpitations
If you feel like your heart is racing or pounding, or sense that your heart has skipped a few beats, you may be experiencing heart palpitations. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that these palpitations, which usually aren’t serious, can be caused by varied external factors.
Potential causes include stress, panic attacks, anxiety or fear. Use of caffeine, nicotine, diet pills and illegal drugs such as cocaine can also cause heart palpitations. They can be triggered by a fever or by engaging in exercise too.
Although most palpitations aren’t cause for concern, that could change if they’re accompanied by an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. An arrhythmia can be caused by heart disease, abnormal blood potassium levels or a malfunctioning heart valve. Low blood oxygen levels, an overactive thyroid gland or specific medications are also potential sources. To determine the arrhythmia cause, your physician will likely prescribe one or more targeted tests.
If you’re experiencing palpitations for the first time, tell your physician about the symptoms so you can receive proper treatment. However, certain symptoms require immediate medical attention, and potentially a trip to the emergency room. Experiencing your heart racing and light headed sensation are among them.
If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, abnormal sweating or dizziness, get medical help quickly. Feeling your heart racing and light headed and loss of consciousness are also red flags.
Consequences Of A Fast Heart Rate
Often a fast heart rate will have no significant effect on the heart, although there may be associated symptoms. In some cases however the symptoms may be enough as to cause concern and quality of life limiting symptoms. In a few cases, the heart rate may be continually elevated over a long period of time weeks-months often at heart rates above 120-130 beats per minutes and lead to a weakening of the heart muscle known as tachycardia mediated cardiomyopathy. Regardless, it is important to work up and identify any underlying causes of fast heat rate and give the appropriate treatment.
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Can Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome Be Prevented
Unfortunately, theres nothing you can do to prevent developing POTS. But there are steps you can take to try to prevent flare-ups by knowing what your triggers are.
Some general guidelines for preventing flare-ups include:
- Maintain a consistent temperature: Its important for people with POTS to maintain an even temperature, as extremes, especially heat, can make symptoms worse. Air conditioning, cooling vests, handheld misters, personal fans and wearing layers in case of temperature fluctuations can all help. When showering, try to use lukewarm water, as either hot or cold can trigger POTS symptoms. Using a shower chair can also be helpful.
- Avoid prolonged standing: Standing for a long time makes symptoms worse for most people with POTS. If you must stand for a long time, try flexing and squeezing your feet and muscles or shifting your weight from one foot to the other.
- Avoid alcohol: Alcohol can worsen symptoms because it dehydrates your body.
Should I Be Concerned About Having High Blood Pressure And A Low Pulse
If youre taking blood pressure medication and have slightly high blood pressure and a low pulse, this generally isnt anything to be concerned about.
But if youre not taking any medication, its best to work with a doctor to figure out whats going on. This is especially true if you have symptoms of a low pulse, such as dizziness or shortness of breath.
The typical range of 60 to 100 beats per minute is both the average pulse measurement as well as the rate at which most peoples heart needs to beat to pump enough blood through their body.
Some people may simply have a lower pulse. Examples include athletes or those in very good shape. Theyve conditioned their heart muscle to be stronger. As a result, their heart pumps more effectively, meaning it doesnt need to beat as often. Learn more about why athletes have lower pulses.
Exercising can also temporarily raise your blood pressure. So, if you exercise regularly, you may have a naturally low pulse and higher blood pressure right after you work out.
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What You Can Do Now
It can be difficult to interpret the symptoms on your own. Swollen lower extremities, fatigue, irregular heart rhythm, and other symptoms can indicate any number of heart issues or other illnesses.
Its wise to develop a relationship with a doctor whos familiar with your family and personal history. A doctor who knows your habits and lifestyle will be better able to diagnose your illness.
See your doctor before you experience the symptoms of heart disease. Get regular checkups, and listen to your doctors advice for living a healthier lifestyle.
In addition to seeing a doctor regularly, you should also make positive changes to your lifestyle. This includes the following:
- Stop smoking tobacco.
What Are The Risk Factors For Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia
PSVT affects about 1 in every 2,500 children. It is the most frequent abnormal heart rhythm in newborns and infants. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is the most common type of PSVT in children and infants.
PSVT is more common in adults under age 65. Adults over age 65 are more likely to have atrial fibrillation .
In a normal heart, the sinus node directs electrical signals through a specific pathway. This regulates the frequency of your heartbeats. An extra pathway, often present in supraventricular tachycardia, can lead to the abnormally fast heartbeat of PSVT.
There are certain medications that make PSVT more likely. For example, when taken in large doses, the heart medication digitalis can lead to episodes of PSVT. The following actions can also increase your risk of having an episode of PSVT:
- ingesting caffeine
- shortness of breath
In more serious cases, PSVT can cause dizziness and even fainting due to poor blood flow to the brain.
Sometimes, a person experiencing symptoms of PSVT may confuse the condition with a heart attack. This is especially true if its their first PSVT episode. If your chest pain is severe you should always go to the emergency room for testing.
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Symptoms Of A Fast Heart Rate
Many people dont have symptoms when they find out they have a fast heart rate. They often just notice it when checking their pulse rate, or from a blood pressure machine or a Fitbit type accessory. Some patients may feel tired, short of breath, dizzy or fatigued. If the heart rate is particularly fast people may notice a thumping sensation or palpitations. If the heart rate is particularly fast, there may be a sensation of light-headedness or feeling of faintness. In the case of SVT that comes and goes at unpredictable times, there may be intermittent palpitations and light-headedness. When the palpitations come on, some patients may have associated chest pain that on occasion can point to underlying heart artery disease. If the palpitations are more serious, people may pass out as a result.
So The Big Hints For Oi Or Oh As A Cause Of Headaches Are:
- Occasional lightheaded sensation or woozy spells just after standing up.
- Fatigue after meals especially bigger meals or high carbohydrate meals.
- Occasional fatigue, poor mental functioning, poor memory or confusion.
- The association of intense neck muscle pain or chronic stiffness.
Often times symptoms can improve, albeit temporarily, when exercising. This is because constriction of muscles during exercises helps pump more blood from the muscles themselves into the circulation thereby increasing the blood flow to the brain
OH can get substantially better after increasing the amount of salt and decreasing the carbohydrate intake in your diet. Salt increases your blood volume and makes it easier to maintain adequate blood flow o the brain. The reduced carbohydrate intake allows your autonomic nervous system to recover and more properly control blood flow to the brain.
Think about your headache pain. Does it occur more in one time of the year over another ? Do you seem to get sinus infections more commonly than your friends or family? Does the pain start in the back of the head or at the temples? Or do you also wrestle with chronic fatigue, have intermittent lightheadedness or intense neck muscle pain?
If you answered yes to any of these, you may need to rethink your diagnosis of migraine headaches.
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What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Low Blood Pressure
In some people, particularly relatively healthy ones, symptoms of weakness, dizziness, and fainting raise the suspicion of low blood pressure. In others, an event often associated with low blood pressure, for example, a heart attack, has occurred to cause the symptoms.
Measuring blood pressure in both the lying and standing positions usually is the first step in diagnosing low blood pressure. In patients with symptomatic low blood pressure, there often is a marked drop in blood pressure upon standing, and patients may even develop orthostatic symptoms. The heart rate often increases. The goal is to identify the cause of the low blood pressure. Sometimes the causes are readily apparent . At other times, the cause may be identified by testing:
How Are Arrhythmias Diagnosed
Arrhythmias can be diagnosed in several ways. The doctor will use a person’s medical history information, along with a physical examination, to begin the evaluation. If an arrhythmia is suspected, the doctor will probably recommend an ECG/EKG to measure the heart’s electrical activity.
There’s nothing painful about an ECG/EKG it’s just a procedure where a series of electrodes are attached to the skin with sticky papers. The electrodes have wires attached to them, which connect to the EKG machine.
The electrical signals from the heart are then briefly recorded, usually for just 10 seconds. This information is sent to a computer, where it’s interpreted and drawn as a graph.
A doctor might recommend these types of ECG/EKG tests:
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Organization Of Care For Patients With Pots
Patient and family education is vital in the care of adolescents with POTS and must be incorporated into the multidisciplinary programs where POTS patients are evaluated and treated. This is especially important as the treatment plan for POTS needs to be multidisciplinary and no single medication or treatment is adequately effective. Patient education must be designed to improve the familys knowledge of POTS along with promoting teen health behavior change. Patients and their parents often express feelings of isolation and lack of social support. Thus, education must focus on self-management and fostering social support that will empower the family to initiate a recovery plan where the teen and family re-engage in normal life activities
Fast Heart Rate What Tests Are Needed
History The initial most important thing is a good history. Are there associated symptoms of palpitations, light-headedness, fatigue, and dizziness or passing out? Is there associated chest pain or shortness of breath? Is the fast heart rate intermittent or constant and do the symptoms only appear when the heart rate is elevated? What happens to the blood pressure when the heart rate is elevated? Is there a history of heart disease or prior testing? These questions are critical in determining the seriousness of the situation and determining the work up required. If there are alarm symptoms such as above then the heart rate needs work up and should not be ignored.
Physical Exam Is the heart rate regular or irregular when it is fast. Are there physical exam signs of heart failure such as fluid retention? Also a thorough physical exam can point toward other systemic problems such a thyroid issues or other.
EKG A baseline EKG is key. Is the heart rhythm normal or abnormal? Is there any evidence of abnormality of the heart rate or conduction system of the heart? It is particularly useful to perform an EKG during the period of fast heart rate as it may help clinch the diagnosis if there is a cardiac cause.
Blood work Basic blood tests will be performed to rule out anemia or electrolyte abnormalities, thyroid function testing may be performed. Other testing may be performed as indicated.
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What Is The Prognosis For Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
The prognosis for POTS is generally good, although it can severely disrupt daily living. POTS symptoms may come and go for years. In approximately 80% of cases, the condition improves, but many people have residual symptoms.
The biggest risk to people with POTS is getting hurt if they faint and fall.
Sometimes Comfort And Reassurance Are The Best Medicine
While palpitations can sometimes signal a more serious condition, theyre often just a sensation of a normal heartbeat, says Marine. Confirming that nothing is seriously wrong is sometimes all a person needs. Relaxation techniques and reassurance from a physician I find that both are very helpful when the cause of palpitations is benign.
What Causes Elevated Heart Rate And Dizziness
Dizziness. A high heart rate can make you feel suddenly dizzy. When your heart beats faster than it should, it will pump more blood. If blood is rushing to your brain, it can make you feel lightheaded and dizzy. Vertigo is another common problem associated with tachycardia , according to MedlinePlus .
Potential Etiologies Of Pots
There appears to be no single mechanism that satisfactorily explains the clinical findings of POTS, rather a combination of possible processes that manifest with decreased blood return to the heart and with similar symptoms. In adults, POTS is seen secondary to other conditions such as chronic diabetes mellitus, chemotherapy, or lupus. However in adolescents, POTS is usually a primary disease process. Having discussed the pathophysiology of POTS related to specific organ systems and physical processes, we now pull everything together to consider the overall etiologies of POTS.
There are a number of possible etiologic mechanisms that have been identified.
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Dizziness And Rapid Heart Rate
- Medical Author: Sabrina Felson, MD
Last Editorial Review: 6/15/2020
These symptoms are present in a wide variety of medical conditions. The possibilities include a panic attack, middle or inner ear problems, or several other possibilities. Pay attention to your symptoms. If they get worse or don’t get better after a few days, check in with your doctor to see if they want you to come into the office.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
When To Call The Doctor For Out
The size, feel, and look of your breasts are as individual as you are, and breasts often change predictably throughout the month. Some women normally have lumps others get a lump every month before their period. But something outside of your usual breast condition could be a symptom of a health problem, says Rachel Freedman, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist at the Susan F. Smith Center for Womens Cancers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Look for anything new that persists, such as a mass, skin change, or rash that doesnt go away in a day but sticks around, Dr. Freedman says. Breast cancer can appear as an unusual redness of the skin that looks like an infection, swelling, lumps, bumps, or nodules. Other potential symptoms include nipple discharge thats bloody , and breasts that become unusually asymmetrical.
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Treatment Of Fast Heart Rate
Treat the Underlying Cause: Most important is to ensure there is no underlying systemic problem that is causing the fast heart rate. If there is anemia, for example, that will need to be treated. Infection and dehydration would need to be treated. Hormonal imbalances would require treating. Medications will be reviewed and any potential offending agents will need to be stopped if possible.
Medications: It is important not just to treat a number the reason underlying must be sought out. If the fast heart rate is thought to be from a cardiac cause then the appropriate treatment should be given. If there is significant muscle dysfunction then treatment aimed at strengthening the heart is given. If there are problems with the electrical system of the heart then medicines to slow the rate may be given such a beta blockers or calcium channel blockers. In some cases stronger medicines that prevent the occurrence of the arrhythmia in the first place may be prescribed, known as anti-arrhythmic medications. Specialists known as electrophysiologists typically prescribe anti-arrhythmic medications.
Symptoms Of Abnormal Heart Rhythms
Occasional palpitations during periods of emotional or physical stress are normal and are nothing to worry about. However, an irregular heartbeat can be a sign of an abnormal heart rhythm, or another heart condition. Talk to your doctor if you feel your heart beating too fast, too slowly or irregularly.
Symptoms of an abnormal heart rhythm can include:
- light-headedness or dizziness
Talk to your doctor if you think your medicine is triggering an abnormal rhythm. Never stop taking prescription medicine without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first.
In some people, certain types of exercise may trigger an abnormal heart rhythm. If you think this is happening to you, talk to your doctor. Physical activity is very important for your heart health and overall wellbeing and should not be avoided without talking to your doctor first.
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