Your Doctor

World Heart Rhythm Awareness Week

Arrhythmia Alliance World Heart Rhythm Awareness Week takes place on the 4th – 10th June and aims to raise awareness for people with abnormal heart rhythms and to highlight what the symptoms are.

An arrhythmia is an abnormal rate and/or rhythm of the heartbeat due to a problem with the heart’s electrical conducting system. Anyone of any age can have arrhythmia. Many people are unaware that they may be dealing with a heart rhythm disorder. In fact, 39% of children and 30% of adults are misdiagnosed with epilepsy. 

Everyone experiences arrhythmia differently. Fainting is in some cases can be a sign of an arrhythmia and should not be ignored. Other common symptoms are palpitations (thumping or fluttering feeling in your chest), dizziness and breathlessness. It is essential to remember that everyone will experience palpitations occasionally in their lives and that this is completely natural. 

There are tests and treatments to identify arrhythmia including an electrocardiogram (ECG) that records the electrical activity of your heart using electrodes placed around your body. An ECG only takes five minutes to do and is completely painless, but it can only detect an arrhythmia if it is happening at the time. An ECG recording can be done for longer periods as well. 

Find out more at https://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/heart-conditions/heart-rhythms 

5 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOUR HEART 

1. The size of an average human heart is comparable to an adult’s fist.

2. To keep you alive, around 2,000 gallons of blood needs to be pumped around the body a day.

3. A woman’s heart beats slightly faster than a man’s heart because it is usually smaller, so it beats slightly faster to make up for its size. The average male heart usually beats 70-72 times a minute whilst an adult woman's beats 78-82 times a minute, although age and fitness levels affect your heart rate.

4. An electrical system controls the rhythm of your heart, but the heart can continue beating for a short period even when it’s disconnected from the body.

5. Laughing is wonderful for your heart, boosts your immune system and reduces stress. 

5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY

1. Keep active, try and do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week to lower the risk of heart disease. Aerobic activity is particularly beneficial. 

2. Smoking is one of worst things for your heart, but it is never too late to quit. If you do quit, your risk of having a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker. 

3. A healthy diet and being a healthy weight is key to having a healthy heart. Try and eat five pieces of fruit every day as well as good fibre and choose food that is low in salt, saturated and trans fats, and sugar.

4. Whilst there is no evidence to suggest that stress causes coronary heart disease or heart attacks it may bring on symptoms like angina. We are also more likely to cope with stress by adopting risky behaviour like smoking, drinking too much alcohol and overeating. Take time in your day to let your mind and body unwind. Managing stress is a key way to protect your heart. 

5. Moderate your intake of alcohol. Regular or high alcohol consumption can hurt your heart and lead to disease of the heart muscle, called cardiomyopathy. Drinking alcohol regularly can also raise your blood pressure.

If you have any concerns, book an appointment with one of our GPs for a quick heart rhythm test.

Find out more at the Arrhythmia Alliance website.