If you have a fast or irregular heartbeat, an arrhythmia may be the cause. A high heart rate is normal during sport and exercise. The heart rate can rise to 160 beats per minute. At rest, this heart rate drops again. If the heart is beating less than 60 beats per minute at rest, there may be a heart rhythm disturbance.
Under normal circumstances, the heart rate is rhythmic, even if the heart rate is high or low. With an irregular heartbeat, the heart first beats fast and then slowly again.
Symptoms of an irregular heartbeat
If you have an irregular heartbeat, you will feel palpitations or feel the heart beating. Some experience a painful or pressing sensation in the chest. Additional symptoms include feeling lightheaded or short of breath. Symptoms such as nausea and sweating may also occur. Not everyone suffers from the same symptoms. This depends primarily on the cause of an irregular heartbeat.
Causes of irregular heartbeat
An irregular heartbeat does not necessarily mean an arrhythmia. For example, an irregular heartbeat is more common with physical exertion or stressful situations. You may also experience palpitations after a heavy meal or drinking caffeinated beverages. In addition, smoking, alcohol and certain medications can play a role. Sometimes an underlying condition or disease is the cause of an irregular heartbeat. These include high blood pressure, diabetes or a cardiac arrhythmia.
Treatment and recovery
Anyone who regularly suffers from an irregular heartbeat should have it examined by their doctor. The diagnosis is made on the basis of physical examination, possibly supplemented by a holter recording or a cardiac ultrasound. If the heart palpitations are harmless, no treatment is needed.
Treatment of arrhythmias consists of removing the cause or prescribing medication. In severe arrhythmias, ablation or a pacemaker are commonly used treatment methods.
Measuring blood pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension can be a cause of an irregular heartbeat. Low blood pressure can also cause this. Blood pressure normally has a value of 120/80 mmHg. An upper pressure above 140 mmHg is referred to as high blood pressure. If the blood pressure is below 90/60 mmHg, then you are dealing with low blood pressure. Elderly, diabetic or cardiac patients should check their blood pressure regularly. This also applies to people with high or low blood pressure, especially when combined with an irregular heartbeat.
The doctor checks blood pressure using a blood pressure monitor. Several blood pressure measurements are needed for a proper diagnosis. In many cases, the doctor recommends that you measure blood pressure yourself at home. This will give you daily insight into your own blood pressure.
Buy a blood pressure monitor
A blood pressure monitor is required for self-measurement of blood pressure. There are two types of blood pressure monitors: the wrist blood pressure monitor and the upper arm blood pressure monitor. Several organizations recommend the use of the upper arm blood pressure monitor. The upper arm blood pressure monitor provides accurate and reliable results. If you do choose a wrist blood pressure monitor, follow the instructions for use carefully. A correct posture is important, because only then will a correct measurement be obtained.