King Mohammed VI successfully underwent surgery to treat arrhythmia, a very common condition characterized by abnormal heart rhythm.
Heart arrhythmia, also known as cardiac dysrhythmia or simply arrhythmia, is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During this condition, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.
While most arrhythmias are considered harmless, some can be very serious and may lead to death. During an arrhythmia, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body, which may damage the brain, the heart, and other organs.
An arrhythmia occurs as a result of a number of reasons. Most commonly, it occurs as a result of a disturbance in the electrical signals that control the heartbeat, which can become delayed or blocked because of a malfunction of the nerve cells that produce electrical signals in the heart. The condition may also happen when these electrical signals don’t travel at a normal pace through the heart.
Similarly, heart arrhythmia may result from smoking, heavy alcohol use, drug abuse, as well as excessive caffeine or nicotine consumption.
Strong emotional stress or anger have also been found to lead to arrhythmias in that these feeling make the heart work harder, raise blood pressure, and release stress hormones.
Finally, heart attacks or any other condition that damages the heart’s electrical system (such as high blood pressure) can also lead to arrhythmia.
While heart arhythmia rarely causes signs or symptoms, when it does it is commonly signaled through palpitations (the feeling of a heart skipping a beat), slow heartbeat, or irregular heartbeat. Other symptoms of arrhythmia include anxiety, weakness, sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, light-headedness, and fainting.
Heart arrhythmias affect millions of people, and they are very common in older adults, with most serious conditions affecting people beyond the age of 60. However, arrhythmias can be effectively treated. Common heart arrhythmia treatments include medicines, medical procedures, and surgery. People with serious arrhythmias can often be successfully treated and lead normal and healthy lives afterward.
Many arrhythmias are harmless and usually require no treatment. People who have harmless arrhythmias can live healthy lives.
Information source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)