Track your pulse to prevent arrhythmia

Track your pulse to prevent arrhythmia

An arrhythmia, also known as cardiac dysrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, is an abnormal rhythm of the heart caused by the unusual behaviour of your heart’s electrical system. The electrical impulses may happen too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly. At the point when the heart doesn’t pulsate appropriately, it can’t pump blood adequately, which might lead to multiple organ failures. An arrhythmia may be completely harmless or it could be life-threatening. It occurs when the heart’s natural pacemaker develops an abnormal rate or rhythm; the normal conduction pathway is interrupted; another part of the heart takes over as a pacemaker.

An arrhythmia can increase your risk of heart attack, cardiac arrest and stroke. A person’s blood pressure can cause the condition. You must control your cholesterol levels, lose excess weight, eat a heart-healthy diet, stop smoking, and engage in a regular physical activity.

Arrhythmias can produce a broad range of symptoms. A single premature beat may be felt as a “palpitation” or “a skipped beat.” Frequent premature beats can be a sign of heart palpitations or a fluttering sensation in the chest or neck. When arrhythmias last long enough to affect the functioning of the heart, some serious symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness, fainting spells, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain and cardiac arrest might occur.

Monitor your pulse
Learn to track your pulse, especially if you have an artificial pacemaker. You just have to put the second and third fingers of one hand on the inside of the wrist of the other hand, just below the thumb. Another way is to put it on side of your neck, just below the corner of your jaw. Keep track of the beats you sense. Make a note of pulse along with the day and time it was taken.

(The author is consultant interventional cardiologist, Fortis Hospital)