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Irregular Heart Beat

Hi,

I have got a friend and she is diagnosed to have irregular heartbeats. What could be the cause? She looks very healthy. What food/medication is recommended to improve things?

hongjun
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hongjun
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hongjun
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5 Solutions
 
mankowitzCommented:
Irreg heartbeats can be caused by many things. It is pretty important to find out what is causing them.

The heart has an intrinsic pacemaker called the SA (sinoatrial) node. It essentially tells the heart when to contract. The SA node connects to a number of tracts in the atria (the top two chambers of the heart) causing them to contract. The tracts continue into the AV (atrioventricular) node and then into the ventricles, causing the ventricles to beat. If you listen to someone's chest you can hear the atria contract, followed by the much larger ventricles. It makes a sound like lub-DUB.

OK, now the most common arrythmia (irreg heartbeat) is a simple sinus arrythmia. That's where the SA node gives a couple of extra beats here and there. Totally nondangerous. Sometimes the ventricles will contract without having received a signal from the SA node. These premature vetricular contractions (PVC's) can be common and are usually not dangerous unless you have a bunch of them together.

The most common arrythmia that you actually have to worry about is called a.fib, where the atria beat in a totally uncoordinated manner. In these cases, the patient is at risk for stroke and has to take blood thinners.

There are much worse arrythmias, and extremely rarely caused by nutritional deficits (at least in modern countries). Most of the time it is a congenital or structural anomaly, or an electrolyte problem caused by another disease or drug.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
An odd extra beat is really very common and in an otherwise healthy person needs no special care.  Sometimes they can be as the result of foodstuffs/drugs that increase the sensitivity of the heart muscle to stimulation, like caffeine.  Altered heartrate is a different matter, see: http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/html/arrhythmia.html
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hongjunAuthor Commented:
@MASQUERAID,
    What do you mean by "Altered heartrate"?

@mankowitz,
    Any idea what actions to be taken to improve things? E.g. exercise, what food to take more, etc ?

@ALL,
    BTW, she eats reasonably healthy food. No caffeine as well.

hongjun
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DaydreamsCommented:
Hi hongjun,

Of course you should ask a doctor for specifics as to what could improve your friends situation, as there are several kinds of arrythmia. It appears that irregular heartbeat (or cardiac arrhythmia) is not uncommon

Here's some good reading on the subject:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/heart-arrhythmias/DS00290/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print

http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/articles/286.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiac_arrhythmia

There's a list of common arrhythmias on that wiki; you might ask which one your friend has:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiac_arrhythmia#List_of_common_cardiac_arrhythmias
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hongjunAuthor Commented:
She is still undergoing medical review and the real cause of it is still unknown.

hongjun
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hongjunAuthor Commented:
Oh ya.. Thanks to all for your attention.

hongjun
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woodendudeCommented:
>>>What food/medication is recommended to improve things?
Honestly we here should not recommend anything. Many things could worsen her condition, though some may improve it she should wait until her doctor informs her of the cause and then follow their recommendations.
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bk_jreinsteinCommented:
Hi,

I would u urge you to see this - http://www.medicinenet.com/arrhythmia_irregular_heartbeat/article.htm
It covers -
    * What causes an arrhythmia?
    * What are the types of arrhythmias?
    * What are the symptoms of arrhythmias?
    * How are arrhythmias diagnosed?
    * How are arrhythmias treated?
    * What medications are used to treat arrhythmias?
    * What lifestyle changes should be made?
    * What is electrical cardioversion?
    * What is a pacemaker?
    * What is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)?
    * What is catheter ablation?
    * What is heart surgery?

Regards,
bk
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bk_jreinsteinCommented:
As you can see, there are many types of arrhythmias. If diagnosed incorrectly, they can be very dangerous! My advise to you would be not to be hasty in your decisions....

Regds,
bk
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mankowitzCommented:
hon-

I wouldn't recommend anything until you get a final diagnosis from the doc.

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hongjunAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all for all the valuable inputs as far :)
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-Mystique-Commented:
The doctor should try to determine the cause, after diagnosing the problem.  It's necessary to know the cause to determine how to handle the condition, determine severity, prognosis, treatment, etc.  Other factors that the doctor will probably consider are the situations in which irregular heartbeat occurs, frequency, what part of the heartbeat is irregular/which part of the heart is beating irregularly, the extent and duration of the irregularity, etc.  Much of the latter probably already has been determined by the EKG results.  Some irregularities are minor, others can be very serious or life threatening (such as ventricular fibrillation, for example)  Hopefully, your gf's heartbeat irregularity will be minor, with a cause that isn't serious and without potential to worsen.
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-Mystique-Commented:
And "looking very healthy" can be a deceptive thing.  One has only to look at the many athletes who seemed to be in peak health and condition, more fit than the average person, who suddenly dropped dead because of "invisible" heart conditions.
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hongjunAuthor Commented:
Doctor has done a follow up. All is well :)
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