Heart arrhythmias (arrhythmias)
A heart arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. Arrhythmias can be a byproduct of damage to the heart from disease or age. Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) occur when the electrical impulses in your heart that coordinate your heartbeats don't function properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.
Most people have experienced occasional, brief, usually harmless arrhythmias, such as the feeling of a skipped, fluttering or racing heartbeat. However, more than 4 million, mainly older Americans experience heart arrhythmias that may cause bothersome - sometimes even dangerous - signs or symptoms. These may include shortness of breath, fainting or even sudden cardiac death - an unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness that leads to death within minutes without emergency medical treatment.
Advances in medical technology have added new treatment methods to the array of procedures that doctors may use to try to control or eliminate arrhythmias. In addition, because troublesome arrhythmias are often made worse - or even caused - by a heart weakened or damaged by coronary artery disease (CAD), you may be able to reduce your arrhythmia risk by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.
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