Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Arrhythmia

Definition:
The heart is a pump that functions by pushing the blood through its four chambers. The blood is “pushed” through in a controlled sequence of muscular contractions. The sequence is controlled by bundles of cells which control the electrical activity of the heart. When the sequence is disturbed, heart arrhythmias occur.

Arrhythmias are abnormal rhythms of the heart.  Arrhythmias cause the heart to pump blood less effectively.  Most cardiac arrhythmias are temporary and benign.  Most temporary and benign arrhythmias are those where your heart skips a beat or has an extra beat. The occasional skip or extra beat is often caused by strong emotions or exercise. Nonetheless, some arrhythmias may be life-threatening and require treatment.

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Types of Arrhythmias:
Arrhythmias can be divided into two main categories ventricular and supraventricular.  Supraventricular arrhythmias occur in the heart’s two upper chambers called the atrium.  Ventricular arrhythmias occur in the heart’s two lower chambers called the ventricles.


Electrical conduction in the heart originates in the SA node and travels through the AV node to the ventricles, resulting in a heart beat.
Supraventricular and Ventricular arrhythmias are further defined by the speed of the heartbeats: very slow, very fast and fast uncoordinated.  A very slow heart rate is called bradycardia.  In bradycardia, the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute. A very fast heart rate is called Tachycardia meaning the heart beats faster than 100 beats per minute. A fast uncoordinated heart rate is called Fibrillation.  Fibrillation is the most serious form of arrhythmia are contractions of individual heart muscle fibers.  Arrhythmias cause nearly 250,000 deaths each year.

Supraventricular Arrhythmia

A very common long term arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is very abnormal.  A normal heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute. However, in atrial fibrillation, the atria (upper lobes of the heart) beat 400 to 600 times per minute. In response to this, the ventricles usually beat irregularly at a rate of 170 to 200 times per minute. So in Atrial Fibrillation, the upper part of the heart may beat up to 8 times as much as a normal heart.  Unfortunately, atrial fibrillation is seen in many types of heart disease; once established, it usually lasts a lifetime.

Ventricular Arrhythmia
One of the most serious arrhythmias is sustained ventricular tachycardia. In sustained ventricular tachycardia, there are consecutive impulses that arise from the ventricles at a heart rate of 100 beats or more per minute until stopped by drug treatment or electrical conversion. This condition is very dangerous.  It is dangerous because it may degenerate further into a totally disorganized electrical activity known as ventricular fibrillation. In ventricular fibrillation, heart’s action is so disorganized that it quivers and does not contract, thus failing to pump blood.

SADS:
SADS, or sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, is a term used to describe sudden death due to cardiac arrest brought on by an arrhythmia in the absence of any structural heart disease on autopsy. The most common cause of sudden death in the US is coronary artery disease.[citation needed] Approximately 300,000 people die suddenly of this cause every year in the US.[citation needed] SADS occurs from other causes. There are many inherited conditions and heart diseases that can affect young people and subsequently cause sudden death. Many of these victims have no symptoms before dying suddenly.

Causes of SADS in young people include viral myocarditis, long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia

Signs and symptoms:
The term cardiac arrhythmia covers a very large number of very different conditions.

The most common symptom of arrhythmia is an abnormal awareness of heartbeat, called palpitations. These may be infrequent, frequent, or continuous. Some of these arrhythmias are harmless (though distracting for patients) but many of them predispose to adverse outcomes.

Some arrhythmias do not cause symptoms, and are not associated with increased mortality. However, some asymptomatic arrhythmias are associated with adverse events. Examples include a higher risk of blood clotting within the heart and a higher risk of insufficient blood being transported to the heart because of weak heartbeat. Other increased risks are of embolisation and stroke, heart failure and sudden cardiac death.

If an arrhythmia results in a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow or too weak to supply the body’s needs, this manifests as a lower blood pressure and may cause lightheadedness or dizziness, or fainting.

Some types of arrhythmia result in cardiac arrest, or sudden death.

Medical assessment of the abnormality using an electrocardiogram is one way to diagnose and assess the risk of any given arrhythmia.

Causes:
Many types of heart disease cause arrhythmia.  Coronary disease is often a trigger.  It triggers arrhythmia because coronary heart disease produces scar tissue in the heart.  This scar tissue disrupts the transmission of signals which control the heart rhythm.  Some people are born with arrhythmias, meaning the condition is congenital. Atherosclerosis is also a factor in causing arrhythmia. Other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure also are factors. Furthermore,  stress, caffeine, smoking, alcohol, and some over-the-counter cough and cold medicines can affect your heart’s natural beating pattern.

Diagnosis:
Many different techniques are used to diagnose arrhythmia.  The techniques include:

•A standard electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).
An EKG is the best test for diagnosing arrhythmia. This test helps doctors analyze the electrical currents of your heart and determines the type of arrhythmia you have.

•Holter monitoring.
Holter monitoring gets a continuous reading of your heart rate and rhythm over a 24-hour period (or more). You wear a recording device (the Holter monitor), which is connected to small metal disks on your chest. With certain types of monitors, you can push a “record” button to capture a rhythm when you feel symptoms. Doctors can then look at a printout of the recording to find out what causes your arrhythmia.

•Trans telephonic monitoring. Transtelephonic monitoring documents problems that may not be detected within a 24-hour period. The devices used for this type of test are smaller than a Holter monitor. One of the devises is about the size of a beeper, the other device is worn like a wristwatch. Like with Holter monitoring, you wear the recording device. When you feel the symptoms of an arrhythmia, you can telephone a monitoring station, where a record can be made. If you cannot get to a telephone during your symptoms, you can turn on the device’s memory function. Later, you can send the recorded information to a monitoring station by using a telephone. These devices also work during episodes of fainting.

•Electrophysiology studies (EPS). Electrophysiology studies are usually performed in a cardiac catheterization laboratory. In this procedure, a long, thin tube (called a catheter) is inserted through an artery in your leg and guided to your heart. A map of electrical impulses from your heart is sent through the wire to find out what kind of arrhythmia you have and where it starts. During the study, doctors can give you controlled electrical impulses to show how your heart reacts. Medicines may also be tested at this time to see which medicines will stop the arrhythmia. Once the electrical pathways causing the arrhythmia are found, radio waves can be sent through the catheter to destroy them.

•A tilt-table exam. A tilt-table exam is a way to evaluate your heart’s rhythm in cases of fainting. The test is noninvasive, which means that doctors will not use needles or catheters. Your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored as you lie flat on a table. The table is then tilted to 65 degrees. The changing angle puts stress on the area of the nervous system that maintains your heart rate and blood pressure. Doctors can see how your heart responds under carefully supervised conditions of stress.

Treatment:

Treatment of arrhythmia depend on the type of arrhythmia, the patients age, physical condition and age.  Methods are available for prevention of arrhythmia.  These methods include relaxation techniques to reduce stress, limit intake of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and stimulant drugs. Many arrhythmias require no treatment, they are naturally controlled by the body’s immune system. However if it is  necessary that arrhythmias must be controlled, they can be controlled by drugs, Cardioversion, Automatic implantable defibrillators or an Artificial pacemaker. Arrhythmias are very serious.

Arrhythmias that start in the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles) are more serious than those that start in the upper chambers (the atria).

Management:
The method of cardiac rhythm management depends firstly on whether or not the affected person is stable or unstable. Treatments may include physical maneuvers, medications, electricity conversion, or electro or cryo cautery.

Physical maneuvers
A number of physical acts can increase parasympathetic nervous supply to the heart, resulting in blocking of electrical conduction through the AV node. This can slow down or stop a number of arrhythmias that originate above or at the AV node (you may click to see: supraventricular tachycardias). Parasympathetic nervous supply to the heart is via the vagus nerve, and these maneuvers are collectively known as vagal maneuvers.

Antiarrhy
thmic drugsMain article: Antiarrhythmic agents
There are many classes of antiarrhythmic medications, with different mechanisms of action and many different individual drugs within these classes. Although the goal of drug therapy is to prevent arrhythmia, nearly every antiarrhythmic drug has the potential to act as a pro-arrhythmic, and so must be carefully selected and used under medical supervision.

Other drugs

A number of other drugs can be useful in cardiac arrhythmias.

Several groups of drugs slow conduction through the heart, without actually preventing an arrhythmia. These drugs can be used to “rate control” a fast rhythm and make it physically tolerable for the patient.

Some arrhythmias promote blood clotting within the heart, and increase risk of embolus and stroke. Anticoagulant medications such as warfarin and heparins, and anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin can reduce the risk of clotting.

Electricity
Dysrhythmias may also be treated electrically, by applying a shock across the heart — either externally to the chest wall, or internally to the heart via implanted electrodes.

Cardioversion is either achieved pharmacologically or via the application of a shock synchronised to the underlying heartbeat. It is used for treatment of supraventricular tachycardias. In elective cardioversion, the recipient is usually sedated or lightly anesthetized for the procedure.

Defibrillation differs in that the shock is not synchronised. It is needed for the chaotic rhythm of ventricular fibrillation and is also used for pulseless ventricular tachycardia. Often, more electricity is required for defibrillation than for cardioversion. In most defibrillation, the recipient has lost consciousness so there is no need for sedation.

Defibrillation or cardioversion may be accomplished by an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

Electrical treatment of dysrhythmia also includes cardiac pacing. Temporary pacing may be necessary for reversible causes of very slow heartbeats, or bradycardia, (for example, from drug overdose or myocardial infarction). A permanent pacemaker may be placed in situations where the bradycardia is not expected to recover.

Electrical cautery
Some cardiologists further sub-specialise into electrophysiology. In specialised catheter laboratories, they use fine probes inserted through the blood vessels to map electrical activity from within the heart. This allows abnormal areas of conduction to be located very accurately, and subsequently destroyed with heat, cold, electrical or laser probes.

This may be completely curative for some forms of arrhythmia, but for others, the success rate remains disappointing. AV nodal reentrant tachycardia is often curable. Atrial fibrillation can also be treated with this technique (e.g. pulmonary vein isolation), but the results are less reliable.

Click  to learn more about  arrhythmia

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.mamashealth.com/ardiag.asp
http://www.mamashealth.com/arrhythmia.asp
http://hrssc.com/hrssc-patient-resource-how-to-diagnose-arrhythmias.html
http://www.nsmc.partners.org/web/service/heart_arrhythmia
http://www1.ecardio.com/PS/Cardiac.aspx
http://www.medicompinc.com/holter_service.html

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/ekg/ekg_during.html

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heart_conduct_atrialfib.gif

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Xerostomia Or Dry Mouth

Definition:
Xerostomia (pronounced as zeer-o-STO-me-uh)  is the medical term for the subjective complaint of dry mouth due to a lack of saliva. Xerostomia is sometimes colloquially called pasties, cottonmouth, drooth, doughmouth or des (like a desert). Xerostomia is also common in smokers.

Lack of saliva is a common problem that may seem little more than a nuisance, but a dry mouth can affect both your enjoyment of food and the health of your teeth. The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia (zeer-o-STO-me-uh).
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Dry mouth can cause problems because saliva helps prevent tooth decay by limiting bacterial growth and washing away food and plaque. Saliva enhances your ability to taste and makes it easier to swallow. In addition, enzymes in saliva aid in digestion.

Xerostomia can cause difficulty in speech and eating. It also leads to halitosis and a dramatic rise in the number of cavities, as the protective effect of saliva’s remineralizing the enamel is no longer present, and can make the mucosa and periodontal tissue of the mouth more vulnerable to infection. Notably, a symptom of heavy methamphetamine use usually called “meth mouth” is largely caused by xerostomia which is worsened by the fact that methamphetamine at recreational doses can cause tight clenching of the jaw, bruxism (compulsive grinding of the teeth), or a repetitive ‘chewing’ movement like the user is chewing without food in the mouth.
Symptoms:
If you’re not producing enough saliva, you may notice the following signs and symptoms:

*Dryness in your mouth
*Saliva that seems thick, stringy
*Sores or split skin at the corners of your mouth
*Cracked lips
*Bad breath
*Difficulty speaking, swallowing
*Sore throat
*An altered sense of taste
*A fungal infection in your mouth
*Increased plaque, tooth decay and gum disease

In women, dry mouth may result in lipstick adhering to the teeth.

Causes:
Dry mouth has numerous causes, including:

*Medications. Hundreds of medications, including some over-the-counter drugs, produce dry mouth as a side effect. Among the more likely types to cause problems are some of the drugs used to treat depression and anxiety, antihistamines, decongestants, high blood pressure medications, anti-diarrheals, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, and Parkinson’s disease medications.

*Aging. Getting older isn’t a risk factor for dry mouth on its own; however, older people are more likely to be taking medications that may cause dry mouth. Also, older people are more likely to have other health conditions that may cause dry mouth.

*Cancer therapy. Chemotherapy drugs can change the nature of saliva and the amount produced. Radiation treatments to your head and neck can damage salivary glands, causing a marked decrease in saliva production.

*Nerve damage. An injury or surgery that causes nerve damage to your head and neck area also can result in xerostomia.

*Other health conditions. Dry mouth can be a consequence of certain health conditions — or their treatments — including the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, anxiety disorders and depression. Stroke and Alzheimer’s disease may cause a perception of dry mouth, even though the salivary glands are functioning normally. Snoring and breathing with your mouth open also can contribute to the problem.

*Tobacco use. Smoking or chewing tobacco can increase dry mouth symptoms.

It may be a sign of an underlying disease, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, poorly controlled diabetes, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome, but this is not always the case.

Other causes of insufficient saliva include anxiety,  or the consumption of alcoholic beverages, physical trauma to the salivary glands or their ducts or nerves, dehydration caused by lack of sufficient fluids, excessive breathing through the mouth, previous radiation therapy, and also a natural result of aging, other conditions or factors not mentioned also can have the ability to cause dry mouth. The vast majority of elderly individuals will suffer xerostomia to some degree, although the most common cause is the use of medications. Output from the major salivary glands does not undergo clinically significant decrements in healthy older people and clinicians should not attribute complaints of a dry mouth and findings of salivary hypofunction in an older person to his or her age. The results of one study suggested that, in general, objective and subjective measurements of major salivary gland flow rates are independent of age, gender, and race. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of dry mouth in the elderly regardless of race or gender should not be considered a normal sequela of aging. Playing or exercising a long time outside on a hot day can cause the salivary glands to become dry as the bodily fluids are concentrated elsewhere. Xerostomia is a common side-effect of various drugs such as cannabis, amphetamines, antihistamines, and some antidepressants.

Diagnosis:
To determine if you have dry mouth, your doctor or dentist likely will examine your mouth and review your medical history. Sometimes you’ll need blood tests and imaging scans of your salivary glands to identify the cause.

He or she will do the following:-
Evaluate the patient’s complaint of dry mouth by asking pertinent history questions: When did he first notice the symptom? Was he exercising at the time? Is he currently taking any medications? Is his sensation of dry mouth intermittent or continuous? Is it related to or relieved by a particular activity? Ask about related symptoms, such as burning or itching eyes, or changes sense of smell in or taste.

Next, inspect the patient’s mouth, including the mucous membranes, for any abnormalities. Observe his eyes for conjunctival irritation, matted lids, and corneal epithelial thickening. Perform simple tests of smell and taste to detect impairment of these senses. Check for enlarged parotid and submaxillary glands.  Palpate for tender or enlarged areas along the neck, too.

Treatment:
Treatment involves finding any correctable causes and fixing those if possible. In many cases it is not possible to correct the xerostomia itself, and treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms and preventing cavities. Patients who have endured chemotherapy usually suffer from this post- treatment. Patients with xerostomia should avoid the use of decongestants and antihistamines, and pay careful attention to oral hygiene. Sipping non-carbonated sugarless fluids frequently, chewing xylitol-containing gum,[3] and using a carboxymethyl cellulose saliva substitute as a mouthwash may help. Aquoral or Pilocarpine may be prescribed to treat xerostomia. Non-systemic relief can be found using an oxidized glycerol triesters treatment used to coat the mouth. Drinking water when there is another cause of the xerostomia besides dehydration may bring little to no relief and can even make the dry mouth more uncomfortable. The use of an enzymatic product such as Biotene toothpaste, Biotene mouthwash, and Biotene dry mouth moisturizing liquid has been proven to reduce the rate of recurrence of dental plaque resulting from dry mouth. Of note is that Biotene does not significantly reduce the count of streptococcus mutans.

If your doctor believes medication to be the cause, he or she may adjust your dosage or switch you to another medication that doesn’t cause a dry mouth. Your doctor may also consider prescribing pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac) to stimulate saliva production.

Lifestyle and home remedies:
When the cause of the problem either can’t be determined or can’t be resolved, the following tips may help improve your dry mouth symptoms and keep your teeth healthy:

*Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies.
*Limit your caffeine intake. Caffeine can make your mouth drier.
*Avoid sugary or acidic foods and candies because they increase the risk of tooth decay.
*Brush with a fluoride toothpaste. (Ask your dentist if you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste.)
*Use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime.
*Don’t use a mouthwash that contains alcohol because these can be drying.
*Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
*Sip water regularly.
*Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes. Look for ones containing carboxymethylcellulose or hydroxyethyl cellulose, such as Biotene Oralbalance.
*Avoid using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants because they can make your symptoms worse.
*Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
*Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.

Alternative medicine:-
Studies of acupuncture have shown that acupuncture may be helpful for people with dry mouth stemming from various causes. This procedure involves the use of fine needles, lightly placed into various areas of the body, depending on your area of concern. While this treatment looks promising, researchers are still studying exactly how this therapy works for xerostomia. You may click to see:->Acupuncture relieves symptoms of xerostomia


You may click & See also
: Xerosis

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dry-mouth/HA00034
http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/x/xerostomia/tests.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerostomia

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Palpitation

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Palpitation, a common problem, is a state in which the heart beats forcibly and maybe, irregularly. It enables the person to become aware of the action of his heart. It is a distressing condition but is not always serious.

Palpitations are unpleasant sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart. In some patients with palpitations, no heart disease or abnormal heart rhythms can be found. Reasons for their palpitations are unknown. In others, palpitations result from abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Arrhythmias refer to heartbeats that are too slow, too rapid, irregular, or too early. Rapid arrhythmias (greater than 100 beats per minute) are called tachycardias. Slow arrhythmias (slower than 60 beats per minute) are called bradycardias. Irregular heart rhythms are called fibrillations (as in atrial fibrillation). When a single heartbeat occurs earlier than normal, it is called a premature contraction. Abnormalities in the atria, the ventricles, the SA node, and the AV node of the heart can lead to arrhythmias.

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It is an awareness of the beating of the heart, whether it is too slow, too fast, irregular, or at its normal frequency. Palpitations may be brought on by overexertion, adrenaline, alcohol, disease (such as hyperthyroidism) or drugs, or as a symptom of panic disorder. More colloquially, it can also refer to a shaking motion. It can also happen in mitral stenosis.

Nearly everyone experiences an occasional awareness of their heart beating, but when it occurs frequently, it can indicate a problem. Palpitations may be associated with heart problems, but also with anemias and thyroid malfunction.

Attacks can last for a few seconds or hours, and may occur very infrequently, or more than daily. Palpitations alongside other symptoms, including sweating, faintness, chest pain or dizziness, indicate irregular or poor heart function and should be looked into.

Palpitations may also be associated with anxiety and panic attacks, in which case psychological assessment is recommended.

Types of palpitation
People describe their palpitations in many different ways, but there are some common patterns:

The heart “stops”
Those who experience palpitations may have the feeling that their heart stops beating for a moment, and then starts again with a “thump” or a “bang”. Usually this feeling is actually caused by an extra beat (premature beat or extrasystole) that happens earlier than the next normal beat, and results in a pause until the next normal beat comes through. People are not usually aware of the early, extra beat, but may be aware of the pause, which follows it (the heart seems to stop). The beat after the pause is more forceful than normal, giving the “thumping” sensation.

The heart is “fluttering” in the chest
Any rapid heartbeat (or tachycardia) can give rise to this feeling. A rapid, regular fluttering in the chest may be associated with sensation of pounding in the neck as well, due to simultaneous contraction of the upper, priming chambers of the heart (the atria) and the lower, main pumping chambers (the ventricles). If the fluttering in the chest feels very irregular, then it is likely that the underlying rhythm is atrial fibrillation. During this type of rhythm abnormality, the atria beat so rapidly and irregularly that they seem to be quivering, rather than contracting. The ventricles are activated more rapidly than normal (tachycardia) and in a very irregular pattern..

Types:
Palpitations may be associated with feelings of anxiety or panic. It is normal to feel the heart thumping when feeling terrified or scared, but it may be difficult to know whether the palpitations or the panicked feeling came first. Unfortunately, since it can take some time before a clear diagnosis is made in a patient complaining of palpitations, people are sometimes told initially that the problem is anxiety.

Stressful situations cause an increase in the level of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, circulating in the blood, and there are some types of abnormal heart rhythm that can be stimulated by adrenaline excess, or by exercise. It may be possible to diagnose these sorts of palpitations by performing simple tests, such as an exercise test, while monitoring the ECG.

Some types of abnormal heart rhythm seem to be affected by posture. For many people, standing up straight after bending over can provoke a rapid heart rate. Often these attacks can be abolished again by lying down. Many people, if not all, are more aware of the heartbeat when lying quietly in bed at night. This is partly because at that time, the attention is not focused on other things, but also because the slower heart beat at rest can allow more premature beats to occur.

Symptoms:
The main symptom of palpitation of the heart is a kind of ‘thumping’ feeling in the chest .The patient feels a real discomfort in the front of the chest .The pulse rate may become faster than normal.
Many times, the person experiencing palpitations may not be aware of anything apart from the abnormal heart rhythm itself. But palpitations can be associated with other things such as tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, dizziness or light-headedness. Depending on the type of rhythm problem, these symptoms may be just momentary or more prolonged. Actual blackouts or near blackouts, associated with palpitations, should be taken seriously because they often indicate the presence of important underlying heart disease.

Probable Causes:

Palpitation of the heart may occur due to a variety of factors, most of which may not be related to the heart itself. Anything, which increases the workload of the heart, may bring on this condition. Some persons may experience palpitations when lying on the left side, because the heart is nearer the chest wall in that position. Many nervous persons suffer from this condition. Although palpitations do occur among other symptoms in serious heart disease, the vast majority of cases is due to anxiety and has no direct connection with heart disease whatsoever. Other causes contribution to this condition is an overfull stomach, flatulence, and constipation. Excessive smoking may also give rise to this disorder.

Diagnosis

The most important initial clue to the diagnosis is one’s description of the palpitations. The approximate age of the person when first noticed and the circumstances under which they occur are important, as is information about caffeine intake. It is also very helpful to know how they start and stop (abruptly or not), whether or not they are regular, and approximately how fast the pulse rate is during an attack. If the person has discovered a way of stopping the palpitations, that is also helpful information.

The diagnosis is usually not made by a routine medical examination and electrical tracing of the heart’s activity (ECG), because most people cannot arrange to have their symptoms while visiting the doctor. Nevertheless, findings such as a heart murmur or an abnormality of the ECG, which could point to the probable diagnosis, may be discovered. In particular, ECG changes that can be associated with specific disturbances of the heart rhythm may be picked up; so routine physical examination and ECG remain important in the assessment of palpitations.

Blood tests, particularly tests of thyroid gland function are also important baseline investigations (an overactive thyroid gland is a potential cause for palpitations; the treatment in that case is to treat the thyroid gland over-activity).

The next level of diagnostic testing is usually 24 hour (or longer) ECG monitoring, using a form of tape recorder (a bit like a Walkman), which can record the ECG continuously during a 24-hour period. If symptoms occur during monitoring it is a simple matter to examine the ECG recording and see what the cardiac rhythm was at the time. For this type of monitoring to be helpful, the symptoms must be occurring at least once a day. If they are less frequent then the chances of detecting anything with continuous 24, or even 48-hour monitoring, are quite remote.

Other forms of monitoring are available, and these can be useful when symptoms are infrequent. A continuous-loop event recorder monitors the ECG continuously, but only saves the data when the wearer activates it. Once activated, it will save the ECG data for a period of time before the activation and for a period of time afterwards – the cardiologist who is investigating the palpitations can program the length of these periods. A new type of continuous-loop recorder has been developed recently that may be helpful in people with very infrequent, but disabling symptoms. This recorder is implanted under the skin on the front of the chest, like a pacemaker. It can be programmed and the data examined using an external device that communicates with it by means of a radio signal.

Investigation of heart structure can also be important. The heart in most people with palpitations is completely normal in its physical structure, but occasionally abnormalities such as valve problems may be present. Usually, but not always, the cardiologist will be able to detect a murmur in such cases, and an echo scan of the heart (echocardiogram) will often be performed to document the heart’s structure. This is a painless test performed using sound waves and is virtually identical to the scanning done in pregnancy to look at the fetus.


Modern medical Treatment

Treating heart palpitations depends greatly on the nature of the problem. In many patients, excessive caffeine intake triggers heart palpitations. In this case, treatment simply requires caffeine intake reduction. For severe cases, medication is often prescribed.

A variety of medications manipulate heart rhythm, which can be used to try to prevent palpitations. If severe palpitations occur, a beta-blocking drug is commonly prescribed. These block the effect of adrenaline on the heart, and are also used for the treatment of angina and high blood pressure. However, they can cause drowsiness, sleep disturbance, depression, impotence, and can aggravate asthma. Other anti-arrhythmic drugs can be employed if beta-blockers are not appropriate.

If heart palpitations become severe, antiarrhythmic medication can be injected intravenously. If this treatment fails, cardioversion may be required. Cardioversion is usually performed under a short general anaesthesia, and involves delivering an electric shock to the chest, which stops the abnormal rhythm and allows the normal rhythm to continue.

For some patients, often those with specific underlying problems found in ECG tests, an electrophysiological study may be advised. This procedure involves inserting a series of wires into a vein in the groin, or the side of the neck, and positioning them inside the heart. Once in position, the wires can be used to record the ECG from different sites within the heart, and can also start and stop abnormal rhythms to further accurate diagnosis. If appropriate, i.e. if an electrical “short circuit” is shown to be responsible for the abnormal rhythm, then a special wire can be used to cut the “short circuit” by placing a small burn at the site. This is known as “radiofrequency ablation” and is curative in the majority of patients with this condition.

Atrial fibrillation has been discussed in a separate article. Treatment may include medication to control heart rate, or cardioversion to support normal heart rhythm. Patients may require medication after a cardioversion to maintain a normal rhythm. In some patients, if attacks of atrial fibrillation occur frequently despite medication, ablation of the connection between the atria and the ventricles (with implantation of a pacemaker) may be advised. A very important risk of atrial fibrillation is the increased risk of stroke. Management of atrial fibrillation usually includes some form of blood thinning treatment.

Very rarely, palpitations are associated with an increased risk blackouts, and even premature death. Generally speaking, serious arrhythmias occur in patients who are known to have heart disease, or carry a genetic predisposition for heart disease or related abnormalities and complications.

Palpitations, in the setting of the above problems, or occurrences such as blackouts or near blackouts, should be taken seriously. Even if ultimately nothing is found, a doctor should be contacted immediately to arrange the appropriate investigations, especially if palpitations occur with blackouts or if any of the above conditions are noticed.

Ayurvedic & Herbal Healing Options:

Ayurvedic Suppliments: 1. Stress Guard 2. Aswagandharisthra 3.Keshari Kalp 4. Brahmi Bati (Click to buy)

Herbal Home Remedy: Grapes,Aswagandha, Satabari and Brahmi… these herbs helps to get rid of any kind of palpitition.

Click to learn more herbal home remedy

Diet Option: The patient suffering from palpitation of the heart should take a simple diet of natural foods, with emphasis on fresh fruits, and raw or lightly cooked vegetables. He should avoid tea, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, soft drinks, food colorings, white rice, and condiments. He should restrict his diet to three meals a day .He should take fruits, milk, and a handful of nuts or seeds, fresh vegetables.

Life Style:Patient should do meditation every day. Swimming, skipping and cycling is also good for health.

Yoga Option: 1. Basic Breathing Exercise(Pranayama) 2. The Shoulder Stand (Sarvang Asana) 3. Shavasana(Total Body Rest)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

Resources:

http://www.allayurveda.com/ail_palpitation.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palpitation

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