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How Dangerous is Arrhythmia?

Mar 29, 2018 by Nancy Hmieleski, RN, BSN Director of Nursing

Arrhythmia is a condition in which the heart doesn’t beat in a normal rhythm. It might beat too quickly, too slowly, or in an erratic pattern. It can be tempting to ignore what might feel like an annoying flutter in the chest, but ignoring arrhythmia can have serious, even life-threatening consequences.

About Arrhythmia

The heart’s rhythm is controlled by electrical impulses. When these impulses don’t aren’t working right and get out of sync, it causes the heart to beat improperly. There are a few different kinds of arrhythmia that describe the types of irregularities. The symptoms for each of them may vary a bit, but general symptoms of arrhythmia include:

  • A feeling of fluttering in the chest.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Slow heartbeat.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Feeling short of breath.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Sweating.
  • Fainting.

If your aging relative experiences any of these symptoms, it’s important for them to see a doctor. Arrhythmia is treatable, but without treatment, their life could be in danger.

Complications of Arrhythmia

Some cases of arrhythmia are mild and may not cause any problems. They may not even require medical treatment. But, in some cases, arrhythmia can lead to serious complications. Some complications of arrhythmia are:

  • Cardiac Arrest: Some types of arrhythmia cause the heart to beat very fast and erratically. When that’s happening, the lower chambers of the heart quiver, which means the heart isn’t pumping blood. Cardiac arrest requires immediate medical attention. 
  • Stroke: Arrhythmia may cause heart to pool in the heart because it isn’t pumped out efficiently. The blood can clot, and a clot can enter the bloodstream. If the clot gets stuck in an artery that feeds the brain, it causes a stroke.
  • Heart Failure: Heart failure is when the blood doesn’t pump enough blood throughout the body and to the organs. 

Heart arrhythmia may be prevented by following recommendations for a heart-healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and reducing stress. 

Elder care can help older adults to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle. They can prepare heart-healthy meals that include lots of vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, but not a lot of salt. Elder care providers can also assist older adults to remain physically active by driving them to fitness classes, going for walks with them, or monitoring their exercise at home. Elder care providers can also remind seniors to take their medications, which can keep arrhythmias from getting worse.


If you or an elderly loved one are considering elder care in Stockton, NJ, or the surrounding areas, call the caring professionals at Comfort Keepers of Flemington, NJ. Call today (908) 806-2220.

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