When was the last time you felt the pitter patter of rapid or quirky heart beats inside your chest? Welcome to the world of arrhythmias, which are disturbances of your heart’s normal rhythm.
The heart beats about 100,000 times each day. After years and decades of beating, it may occasionally skip or bump. Most of the time, fortunately, the heart corrects its own rhythm, almost faster than one can feel it.
As we age, certain forms of arrhythmia can affect our energy level, leaving you tired and weak. On occasion, big disturbances in the heart’s rhythm can threaten the heart itself. In general, arrhythmias which begin later in life should be investigated more thoroughly and taken more seriously.
Since many of the most worrisome arrhythmias are closely entwined with heart disease, probably the best defense against them is to prevent problems which can lead to heart attack in the first place. Even if you experience palpitations, you may be able to keep them to a minimum with some lifestyle changes.
- If you smoke, stop.
- Decrease stress. Many experts believe that stress plays a role in the development of coronary artery disease as well as contributes to arrhythmias. Balance your life through exercise, warm baths, massage, meditation, and creative hobbies.
- Avoid caffeine. A British study of 7,300 people found that nine or more cups of coffee can make some hearts skip beats. Some smaller studies suggest that lesser amounts of coffee may have similar effects. Play it safe. If you are prone to arrhythmias, avoid caffeine.
MITRAL VALVE PROLAPSE
MVP is a congenital condition that affects about 5 percent of the population, as many as two-thirds of them women. It’s not necessarily a worrisome condition, but in some, MVP causes mild chest pain, fainting, dizziness and irregular heart rhythms.
Mitral Valve Prolapse is a heart valve irregularity in which the leaflets or flaps of one of the heart’s valves bulge, or prolapse, when the heart contracts. MVP is best diagnosed by a test called an echocardiogram.
If you think you may have these symptoms, consult your physician. MVP is often controlled by regular exercise, decreased stress, balancing hormonal fluctuation and decreasing caffeine intake.
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