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Living with an Arrhythmia

Arrhythmias can range from annoying palpitations​ to life threatening sudden cardiac death risks. The Heart Hospital Baylor provides advanced arrhythmia diagnosis, treatment, and management approaches to fit your needs in advanced facilities with a five-star patient experience.

Ongoing Care

If you have an arrhythmia that requires treatment, you should:

  • Keep all of your medical appointments. Bring a list of all the medicines you're taking to every doctor and emergency room visit. This will help your doctors know exactly what medicines you're taking, which can help prevent medication errors.
  • Take your medicines as prescribed. Check with your doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines, nutritional supplements, or cold and allergy medicines. Some of these products can trigger rapid heart rhythms or interact poorly with heart rhythm medicines.
  • Tell your doctor if you're having side effects from your medicines. Side effects might include depression and palpitations. These side effects often can be treated.
  • Tell your doctor if arrhythmia symptoms are getting worse or if you have new symptoms.
  • See your doctor for regular checkups if you're taking blood-thinning medicines. You may need routine blood tests​ to check how the medicines are working.

If you have an arrhythmia, taking care of yourself is important. If you feel dizzy or faint, you should lie down. Don't try to walk or drive. Let your doctor know about these symptoms.

Ask your doctor whether vagal maneuvers are an option for you. These exercises can help stop a rapid heartbeat, but they're not appropriate for everyone.

Learn how to take your pulse. Discuss with your doctor what pulse rate is normal for you. Keep a record of changes in your pulse rate and share this information with your doctor.

Lifestyle Changes

Many arrhythmias are caused by underlying heart disease. Keep your heart healthy by following a healthy diet​.

A healthy lifestyle also includes being physically active, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping your blood cholesterol and blood pressure​ at healthy levels.

Strong emotional stress or anger can lead to arrhythmias. Try to manage stress and anger through activities such as yoga, quiet time, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Getting support from friends and family also can help you manage stress.

Your doctor may want you to avoid certain substances if they make your heart beat too fast. These substances may include alcohol and cold and cough medicines.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.