Common Symptoms of Heart Rhythm Disorders

A heart rhythm disorder, also called an arrhythmia, is an irregular heartbeat. There are different types of arrhythmias, including a heartbeat that is too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or even abnormal heart rhythms for many other possible reasons. Symptoms of heart rhythm disorders vary, just as the types and causes of heart rhythm disorders vary. 

Some irregular heartbeats do not cause any symptoms and are typically discovered during a routine examination. However, when symptoms do occur, there are several common ones that might signal a heart rhythm disorder. 

One frequent symptom is a change in the feeling of your heartbeat. A single skipped or missed beat will cause a chest palpitation. This can be followed by several rapid heartbeats that create a fluttering sensation. This fluttering is a common symptom of atrial fibrillation, one of the more common arrhythmias. 

Other symptoms of heart rhythm disorders can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

Typical heart rates vary based on activity levels, but most people’s heart rate stays within a predictable range and has a normal rhythm. In an arrhythmia, the normal rhythm is disrupted by a problem with the heart, which makes the beat irregular or changes the resting heart rate to above or below the normal threshold. 

Arrhythmias vary in severity, ranging from minor irregularities that do not need treatment to those that are life threatening and require immediate attention. When treatment is needed for a non-life threatening arrhythmia, options include medication, catheter procedures, surgical procedures, and lifestyle changes.

If you are experiencing symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, or heart palpitations, make an appointment with your primary care physician or one of our specialists in the OHH Heart Rhythm Institute to check for arrhythmias. If you are experiencing chest pain, fainting, or shortness of breath, seek emergency medical care.