A fluttering feeling in your chest or a racing heart could be caused by an irregular heartbeat. A change in the way your heart beats could happen for many reasons. Your Sugar Land, TX, cardiologist, Dr. Naim Al-Adli of Fort Bend Heart Center, can determine why you have an irregular heartbeat and let you know if treatment is needed.
Is an irregular heartbeat a sign of a serious heart problem?
Changes in your heart rhythm can be a little scary but don't necessarily mean that you have a heart condition. You may notice that your heart skips a beat, flutters, or beats faster or slower than usual when you:
- Feel stressed
- Drink alcohol or beverages that contain caffeine
- Use illegal drugs
- Experience side effects from medications
An irregular heartbeat can also be caused by certain health conditions. You may notice changes in your heartbeat if you have diabetes, thyroid disease, sleep apnea, or COVID-19. Coronary artery disease, heart failure, or a heart rhythm problem could also cause irregular heartbeats.
Heartbeat problems can affect your heart's ability to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. When irregular heartbeats happen often, normal blood flow can be affected, making you more likely to experience a stroke, cardiac arrest, and other serious conditions.
How is an irregular heartbeat treated?
During your visit to the Sugar Land cardiology office, your cardiologist will ask you to explain when the irregular heartbeats happen and discuss what you were doing when the problem happened. He'll also perform an examination and may recommend one or more tests, including an electrocardiogram (EKG), treadmill stress test, or a 24-hour heart monitor test. (During the heart monitor test, you'll wear a device that records your heart's electrical rhythm for 24 hours.)
Treatment options vary depending on the results of the tests. If your heart is healthy or you only have a minor problem, practicing stress-relief techniques, decreasing your use of caffeine or alcohol, or exercising a little less intensely may be helpful.
If you have a serious heart rhythm problem, implanting a pacemaker in your chest may be helpful. A pacemaker is a machine that detects irregular heartbeats and produces electrical impulses that help your heart beat normally. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need other treatments, such as cardioversion, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, catheter ablation, or coronary bypass surgery.
Have you noticed a change in your heartbeat? Call your cardiologist in Sugar Land, TX, Dr. Naim Al-Adli of Fort Bend Heart Center, at (281) 265-8500 to schedule your appointment.