Become Arrhythmia aware

The human heart is the most important organ in the human body, which pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. Blood provides the body with oxygen and nutrients, as well as assists in the removal of metabolic wastes .Have you ever wondered what could happen if you could experience a slower or faster heart beat?

The Rhythm Society  postulates that, millions of people experience irregular heartbeats at some point in their lives, such occurrence is called Arrhythmia, the 5th-11th of June 2017 highlights World Heart Rhythm Week, under the Theme: Identifying the Undiagnosed Person with the aim raising awareness of heart rhythm disorders.

Arrhythmia refers to any change from the normal sequence of your heartbeat, the heartbeats can happen too fast or too slower than the usual rate. According to MedlinePlus  when the heart beats faster than normal it is often associated with tachycardia and when the heart beats too slowly one may suffer from bradycardia. However, the most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, which causes an irregular and fast heartbeat.

A normal resting heart rate of an adult  is regarded to be between 60 to 100 heartbeats per  minute, however according to ER24  having a heartbeat faster than 100 beats per minute or lower than 60 beats per minute does not always mean you are at risk. For example, people experience a faster heartbeat when exercising and some experience a slower heartbeat when sleeping. If you are physically fit, your normal resting heartbeat may be lower than 60 pulses per minute.

There are certain risk factors that contribute to irregular heartbeats and may later, if left untreated contribute to the development of arrhythmia.  Such factors include excessive alcohol intake, smoking, high blood pressure and unhealthy eating habits. To learn more about eating healthy go to

Excessive alcohol intake

Excessive intake of alcohol can directly damage heart cells and cause extra heartbeats, according to WebMD people who drink heavily can develop a weak heart (alcoholic cardiomyopathy). When this occurs, they can have various arrhythmia including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and ventricular tachycardia


Smoking is one of the modifiable leading factors that leads to the development of arrhythmia, myDr in describing effects of smoking  asserts that “carbon monoxide in cigarettes reduces the amount of oxygen available to the muscle, brain and blood .This means the whole body, especially the heart, must work harder. When the hearts pumps harder the pulse rate increases


Hypertension is one of the world’s leading causes of irregular heart rhythm. Hypertension, according to the World Health Organisation is an increase in blood pressure, wherein the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure, putting them under increased stress. Each time the heart beats; it pumps blood into the vessels, which carry the blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart must pump. Such pumping may disturb the normal sequence of the heart beat and lead to coronary diseases.

Unhealthy eating habits

An unhealthy diet, lacking the needed nutrients and consisting of high sugar consumption, salt, saturated fats, and trans-fatty acids contributes to the development of irregular heartbeats leading to coronary diseases. According to research conducted by the World Heart Federation, approximately 16 million (1.0%) and  1.7 million  (2.0%) of death worldwide are attributable to low fruit and vegetable consumption.

Arrhythmia can be harmless, serious or life threatening, some of the identifiable symptoms without involving a ultrasound of the heart include shortness of breath, chest discomfort, palpitations, dizziness, fatigue or sweating. However, you can check your pulse if you notice any irregularities by placing the tips of your index and middle fingers on the inner wrist of your other arm, just below the bottom of your thumb. Press your wrist lightly until you feel your pulse. Count the number of beats in 30 seconds and multiply by two to determine your heart rate in beats per minute.

Stay healthy, be cautious of any irregular symptoms and take care of your health. Follow us on Twitter @agriaidsa and Facebook AgriAid SA

by: Mbali Witness Motha

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