Heartbeat - why does it get irregular?

Heartbeat - why does it get irregular?

Your heart beats approximately 72 times per minute as blood flows into and out of it. If you were to ever check using an ECG, your beating heart would have a pattern.

Sometimes, this pattern is thrown out of gear. Let us discover how the rhythymic beating of your heart can be affected.

A specialised group of cells known as the Sinoatrial (SA) node is tasked with sending an electrical signal to your heart muscles to beat.

As these electrical signals stimulate your heart muscles, they respond by contracting or beating. So the question then is, what might affect the signal or the manner in which the heart responds?

Blockages created by plaque in your arteries restrict the flow of oxygen-rich blood into your heart.

When this happens repeatedly, the muscles of your heart weaken. As this happens, the muscles cannot conduct electrical signals as well as they did. 

In order for the electrical signals to travel from the SA node to your heart muscles, they need electrolytes.

Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium conduct the electricity as it makes its way through your heart. If your diet is imbalanced, this process gets disrupted.

A hypothyroid condition, where your thyroid gland cannot make enough hormones, also affects the heart.

Much to my surprise, I learned that thyroid hormones are required to maintain the heart muscles. So a lack of hormones directly affects the muscles of your heart.

Thyroid hormones also affect the resistance faced by your blood as it flows through your arteries. Your blood flow can be affected directly, affecting your heart muscles, as explained before.

A hypothyroid condition affects the balance of electrolytes in your body. In turn, this affects the manner in which your heart conducts the signals to beat.

Finally, a hypothyroid condition can slow down your heart, a condition known as bradycardia.

So if you have a condition where your heart beat is irregular, it is always best to understand the underlying cause in order to treat it. 

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