What could cause a sudden, fast and irregular heartbeat?
On 2 occasions, a change in emotional state (eg. anxious, stressed, a lot of things on mind) has caused me to experience a sudden, irregular and fast heartbeat. In the most recent episode, I experienced blood being drained from my head, faintness and a temporary loss of vision.
In medical terminology, an irregular heart beat is called an arrythmia (ie, abnormal heart rhythm).
Heart rhythm abnormalities occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate your heartbeats cause your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.
Your doctor can detect an irregular heartbeat during an examination by taking your pulse, listening to your heart, or by performing diagnostic tests such as an ECG.
An arrhythmia may not cause any symptoms. If symptoms occur, they may include:
- Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
- Chest discomfort
This is because your heart pumps blood that supplies oxygen to your brain, and if the heart rhythm goes haywire briefly, the blood and oxygen supply could be affected.
There are many harmless causes of abnormal heart rhythms, which include:
- Caffeine and alcohol
- Strenuous physical activity
If you have associated symptoms such as feeling lightheaded or short of breath, it's worthwhile going to see your doctor.
This is because he may sometimes uncover other easily treatable or more dangerous causes of abnormal heart rhythms.