Why an Irregular Heartbeat May Increase Heart Disease Risk

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78804828While some irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias, can be harmless and merely part of your heart’s natural processes, others need to be regularly monitored by your doctor. If your doctor determines that your arrhythmia is a concern and should be treated, he or she can guide you through treatment options. In the case of an irregular heartbeat, it’s important to reduce risk factors like heart disease as much as possible.

What Is Arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia occurs when there is a change in the normal rhythm of a person’s heartbeat. An irregular heartbeat may be too fast, too slow or erratic. Because this puts added stress on the heart, blood is not properly pumped throughout the body, which can put the person at risk for conditions like heart disease and stroke.

Women and Men May Be Affected Differently

A recent study has shown evidence that women with irregular heartbeats may be at a greater risk for heart disease than are men with the same condition. While more research needs to be done to discover why this may be the case, women were shown to have a significantly higher risk for heart failure, stroke and cardiac-related mortality than their male counterparts. Because of these findings, it is especially important for women with arrhythmia to reduce other risk factors.

Reducing Risk Factors

If you experience irregular heartbeats and are already working with your doctor to monitor their progression, there are many ways you can continue to reduce your risk factors for heart disease on your own. Eating a heart-healthy, low-cholesterol diet, getting plenty of exercise and kicking smoking habits can all help to counteract the effects of your arrhythmia.