The heart is essential in sustaining life just like the brain. It is important to note that this muscle helps keep the blood circulating all over the body so that important tasks are performed. There are various conditions that can interfere with the overall functionality of the heart, including blocked arteries, holes and even the loss of electricity that keeps the heart pumping. The doctor can interpret these issues by listening to the rhythm of the heart which will lose its normal beat when there is a problem. Doctors utilize tools such as a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and an electrocardiogram for proper assessment. It is also important that you are familiar with these cardiac rhythms. You can learn about these cardiac rhythms by enrolling in a first aid and CPR course.
Sinus tachycardia and bradycardia
If there is rapid beating of the heart, it indicates sinus tachycardia. This is not considered as a serious health condition but simply an elevated heart rate due to environmental factors such as adrenaline, stress and exercise. The opposite of this is called as sinus bradycardia in which there is less than 60 beats in a minute.
Those who engage in sports usually have a low heart beat due to their frequent engagement in exercise. There are also certain medications that can cause this condition as well as severe pain and shock. When it comes to extreme pain, the individual might feel lightheaded due to the diminished heartbeat.
What happens if the heart rate is too fast?
You should also take note of the beats per minute and then allow the individual to relax and calm down for several minutes. In case the heart beat continues to race at a very high rate, this indicates tachycardia. Understandably, the heart is not capable of sustaining an elevated heart rate for a long period and will eventually fail and cause death. The heart is given a shock from a defibrillator in order to restore the regular rhythm.
Absence of a heart rate
If there is no heartbeat, it is known as ventricular fibrillation. This condition occurs once the heart losses its electrical charge and only jiggles instead of beating. Once this happens, the heart must be knocked out of this fibrillation state through defibrillation. In most cases, the heart experiences fibrillation if a blocked artery does not supply enough blood to the heart, but this can also occur during poisoning and drug overdose.
Heart skips a beat
If the heart skips a few beats or there are several beats in a fast succession, this is called as ventricular flutter. Take note that this is an early indication that the head is heading to complete fibrillation. During this stage, the heart has enough power to continue beating, but it is quickly failing.
Extremely rapid heartbeat
Once the heart beats very fast between 150-200 beats per minute, this is called as paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Even though this is not life-threatening, it is uncomfortable to the individual. You have to ask the individual if he/she is also experiencing shortness of breath or a sensation of a full throat. Always remember that the condition can also be triggered by congenital defects as well as narcotics such as methamphetamine and cocaine, caffeine and over-the-counter cold medications.