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Signs That You Have an Abnormal Heartbeat (And Why You Need Prompt Treatment)

Feb 13, 2024
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It’s normal for your heartbeat to speed up when you’re excited and slow down when you’re relaxed. But if your heart skips beats, flutters, or slows down or speeds up for no apparent reason, you need to find out why.

Abnormal heartbeats are a sign that something about your heart isn’t working as it should.

A normal, healthy heart beats regularly and steadily. Variations in your heartbeat aren’t unusual in times of short-term stress, but irregular heartbeats are a sign that something has gone wrong in your heart muscle, its blood vessels, the nerves, or its electrical activity. 

At Advanced Medical Care in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, our cardiology team can determine why your heart beats irregularly, a condition known as cardiac arrhythmia. Seeking treatment promptly when something isn’t right helps ensure your heart functions optimally and healthily.

Your heart is a complex muscle

Your heart muscle works in an organized, coordinated way to pump oxygenated blood throughout your body and send deoxygenated blood to your lungs for a fresh infusion of oxygen. This complex and vital muscle has four chambers that work together to help manage your heartbeat.

Three layers of muscle tissue — pericardium, myocardium, and endocardium — are filled with blood vessels and nerves. The nerves and an electrical system within the heart send signals from your brain to each side of your heart to control the ebb and flow of blood and oxygen.

Following are signs that your abnormal heartbeat needs prompt treatment.

Do you have heart flutters or pounding?

A growing number of people in the United States have a common type of irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation (AFib). If you have AFib, you may have symptoms such as:

  • Heart flutters
  • Heart pounding
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Although AFib isn’t a sign that you’re having a heart attack, it significantly raises your risk for a stroke

Do you have extra heartbeats?

Premature cardiac beats occur when your heart’s ventricles create extra heartbeats. These unexpected beats disrupt your heart’s rhythm, which may cause sensations such as:

  • Heart flutters
  • Skipped beats
  • Pounding heart
  • Heightened awareness of heartbeats

If your heart flutters or skips a beat only occasionally, it may not be a problem. Still, you should make your doctor aware of the fact because it could be a sign of an underlying heart condition. If it happens frequently or causes you discomfort, contact us right away.

Is your heart too slow or too fast?

Another type of arrhythmia is called bradyarrhythmia. In this type of irregular heartbeat, your heart rate is slower than normal. That means your blood and oxygen don’t reach your brain and other organs regularly and efficiently.

If you have a bradyarrhythmia, you may feel breathless or dizzy. This irregular heartbeat is characterized by having less than 60 heartbeats per minute.

Sometimes very healthy and fit people have a slow heart rate because their hearts are so efficient. However, if your heart rate is slow and you don’t feel well, you need to see a cardiologist as soon as possible.

You may also find that you alternate between slow heart beats and ones that are overly fast, an arrhythmia known as bradycardia/tachycardia syndrome.

Arrhythmias can be serious

Some arrhythmias are nothing to worry about, particularly if they happen infrequently. Others increase your risk for cardiac arrest, which is a malfunction with your heart’s electrical system, and stroke. 

Are your heartbeats irregular? Discover why and get the treatment you need to avoid complications. Contact our team at Advanced Medical Care by phone or online.

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At Advanced Medical Care, care is not just a part of our name — it is in our hearts. Our providers strive to put our patients first and find solutions to meet their needs on every level. If you’re ready to start improving your health, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our office in Queens or Brooklyn.