Your heart beats more than 100,000 times every day. But what happens when your heartbeat is off rhythm? Here we’ll give you a breakdown of what it means when your heartbeat is abnormal, and how your heart works.

How does my heart work?

Your heart has an electrical system. This system controls each beat or pump of your heart. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood through your entire body. Your heart beats between 60 and 100 times every minute.

What happens if my heart doesn’t beat regularly?

When you have an abnormal heart rhythm it is called an arrhythmia (uh-rith-mee-uh). An arrhythmia is caused by problems with the heart’s electrical system that makes it beat too often or not often enough.

When your heart rate is too fast (more than 100 beats per minute) it is called tachycardia (tak-i-kahr-dee-uh). If your heart rate is slow (less than 60 beats per minute) it is called bradycardia (brad-i-kahr-dee-uh).

Another heart rhythm condition is called atrial fibrillation, or afib. This is the most common form of heart rhythm issues, and it causes your heart to beat in a rapid and unorganized way.

How common are heart arrhythmias?

1 in 18 people suffer from a heart arrhythmia. That’s about 5% of the US population. However, recent studies have found that 25% of adults over 40 in the US could develop an irregular heartbeat. This makes it extremely important to get regular physicals.

How do I know if I’m at risk?

Arrhythmias can be tricky because they can develop in anyone. You do not need to be unhealthy or have heart issues for an arrhythmia to develop. However, there are some risk factors that might increase your risk.

Smoking, drinking, excessive caffeine, energy drinks, and using stimulants can put you at a higher risk of heart rhythm problems. Health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity can also increase your risk.

While men have a slightly higher risk of developing an arrhythmia, women are at a higher risk of having a long-term risk of premature death. Heart arrhythmias are also slightly more common in people who are over 65 years old.

It is important to remember that while these factors may increase your risk of heart rhythm issues, people who are young and healthy can also develop arrhythmias.

How do I know if I have an arrhythmia?

Heart arrhythmias have very few symptoms, and those symptoms can often go unnoticed. This is why its important to see your provider regularly, so they can make sure your heart is working properly.

Some symptoms of a heart arrhythmia include being dizzy, shortness of breath, chest pain, paleness, and fainting. Like many heart diseases, an irregular heart rhythm can be hard to notice, and they can damage your heart severely before symptoms appear.

When should I see a provider?

Arrhythmias and afib can damage your heart and increase your risk of a stroke dramatically. Rather than waiting for symptoms to arise, the best thing you can do is to see your provider regularly. These regular visits will allow your provider to find any heart rhythm issues early, which allows you to get treatment sooner and avoid dangerous heart damage.

Regularly seeing your healthcare provider will also give you the opportunity to find other health issues early as well, including those that can increase your risk for arrhythmias and/or atrial fibrillation.

When it comes to your heart health, prevention is the best way to stay healthy. At EPIC, we are uniquely set up to help you reach all of your health goals and have expert support every step of the way.

Whether you’re worried about symptoms of heart issues, or you want to make sure you’re doing all the right things to keep it healthy, schedule your appointment today!