The heart is a very crucial part of every human. It functions by pumping blood as well as delivers oxygen and nutrients to the different parts of the body. Normally, a healthy heart beats about 60-100 per minute. However, there are also instances when a person’s heartbeat is irregular — either its too slow or too fast. Heart arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation are two of the most common heart rhythm issues that people experience today.
Heart arrhythmia is a condition wherein the electrical impulses responsible for coordinating the heartbeat becomes abnormal resulting in an irregular rhythm of the heart. Atrial fibrillation, on the other hand, is a condition more common to an aging population. While it may be harmless to some, there are also instances when these heart rhythm issues become life-threatening. With this, it is important to address these conditions right away to prevent them from leading to a more serious problem. Here are the treatments that your doctor may prescribe to you.
Antiarrhythmic medications may be prescribed to you by your physician if you have heart arrhythmia, tachycardia or premature heartbeats. These types of medications will help minimize the occurrence of skipped beats and palpitations. Antiarrhythmic medications work by blocking the electrical signals in the heart; thus, correcting its rhythm. In fact, there are instances when it can totally treat the condition.
Most antiarrhythmic medications are in pill form but can be also given in IV form during emergency cases. Below are the most common antiarrhythmic medications:
- Sodium-channel blockers
This is a type of antiarrhythmic medication that works by preventing the influx of sodium through the cell membranes. It will slow down the electrical signals in the heart; thus, giving you relief when your heart is beating fast. Some of the most common sodium-channel blockers are flecainide, propafenone and mexilitine.
Beta-blockers or beta-adrenergic blocking agents work by blocking the effects of adrenaline. It will help make your heartbeat regular and will also reduce your blood pressure. Metoprolol and Atenolol are examples of beta-blockers.
- Potassium-channel blockers
Potassium-channel blocker is a type of antiarrhythmic medication that works by inhibiting the influx of potassium in the cell membranes. With this, the interval between electrical impulses in the heart are prolonged resulting in a more stable heart rhythm. Examples of potassium-blockers are Sotalol and Dofetilide.
- Calcium-channel blockers
Calcium-channel blockers also known as calcium antagonists are a type of antiarrhythmic medication that works by inhibiting the influx of calcium in the cell membranes; thus, regulating your heart beat. Verapimil and Diltiazem are two of the most common calcium-blocker medications.
There are some medications that carry several antiarrhythmic properties. For example, Amiodarone can work on sodium channel, potassium channel and also has some beta blocker abilities.
Anticoagulant is a type of blood-thinning medication which is usually prescribed by a physician if your heart rhythm issue puts you at higher risk of blood clots or stroke. Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm problem which may cause the blood to pool in the heart leading to blood clot. With anticoagulant medication, this risk can be prevented.
Whichever heart rhythm problems you may be living with, it is important to only take medication that is prescribed by your physician to prevent side effects. If you have heart arrhythmia that is bothering you, talk to your doctor for the proper treatment.