An irregular heartbeat can be a sign of something very serious. You should always contact your doctor or 911 when an irregularity occurs. However, many people suffer from the occasional racing heart, pounding heart, skipping a beat, flipping, and irregular tones. More often than not, these symptoms have specifics that make them better or worse. For example, for some individuals, their symptoms get worse with exercise or nightfall.
Table of Contents
Diagnosis Irregular Heart Rhythm
There are 7 ways a heartbeat or irregular heartbeat can be diagnosed.
- Sinus rhythm
- Sinus tachycardia
- Premature atrial complexes
- Premature ventricular complexes
- Supraventricular tachycardia
- Atrial fibrillation
- Ventricular tachycardia
Sinus Rhythm is how the heart should beat. We see a P wave followed by a QRS. With a typical sinus rhythm, we see the heartbeat at around 80 beats per minute. For most with symptoms like a racing heart, who have a normal sinus rhythm, it is linked to anxiety or stress-related.
Sinus Tachycardia is when the heartbeat is fast, around 100 beats per minute. However, the PQRS waves are still happening at the times they should. An example of this is running on the treadmill. The heartbeat is still regular, but it is fast.
Premature Atrial Contraction is when we have a P wave followed by a QRS wave but we see an early beat coming in. This beat is a premature atrial contraction. According to studies, this condition is common and many people who have it do not feel it.
Supraventricular Tachycardia or SVT is when there is no P waves present and the heart rate is around 170 beats per minute. This condition is more common in young adults and can be fixed by dunking their heads in cold water. The sudden shock of cold water is enough to terminate this rhythm.
Atrial fibrillation is more common as adults age. With this condition, it is seen more in those aged 60-80. This is also where we see the loss of a P wave, but the heartbeat is in the 150s. Patients often complain that they can feel their hearts beating irregularly or fast.
Ventricular tachycardia is when the heart has a few normal heats (3-4) and then there is a sudden string of wild beats. This condition needs medical attention and cardiology. This is the condition that is most often associated with lightheadedness, dizziness, and passing out.
Caffeine is a large factor that influences these symptoms. Many caffeinated drinks are accompanied by large amounts of sugar. These two together can cause premature atrial and ventricular contractions, irregular heartbeats, and sinus tachycardia along with headaches.
Alcohol is also highly associated with irregular or chaotic rhythms. By reducing alcohol intake, we can reduce many people’s symptoms.
Food As Medicine
Dr. Heather Wolfson and Dr. Jack Wolfson found that when they combine appropriate nutrition, many of these symptoms disappear. Food is one of the best medicines there is. Properly fueling the body shows a dramatic difference in health. For example, vegetables are loaded with rich vitamins and minerals that replace many deficiencies that are a leading cause of these irregular heart rhythms. Free-range meats and fish have omega-3s while eggs contain choline and healthy fats.
The paleo diet has helped reduce these irregular beats by providing the nutrient-dense foods the body needs for proper digestion, reducing inflammation, absorption, and healing. Additionally, gluten has been shown to increase patients’ abnormal rhythms. The paleo diet is a great choice for many patients as it does not include gluten.
In the image below, one can see the brain and spinal cord along with the autonomic nervous system. It is shown that the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are innervating every single organ, including the heart. In short, if there is an incident such as a fall or even something as simple as sleeping wrong, there could be a subluxation in the vertebra. Getting a chiropractic adjustment, will realign the vertebra and cervical spine and in turn, reduce the rhythm problem.
Anthropometric measurements are speaking of an individual’s height and weight. These measurements are highly important when it comes to any kind of treatment. In order to properly assess and treat patients, we use the InBody 770 to obtain a full-body scan. This allows us to not only see the patient’s height and weight, but also see their lean muscle mass, their visceral fat, and their hydration. By using these results, coupled with lab work, we are able to truly help the underlying issues that could be causing symptoms. Using food and diagnostic lab work helps to uncover the real issues to get patients back to feeling healthy naturally, without using medicine as a bandaid.
I am a huge fan of chiropractic care and through my studies have learned just how sensitive and interconnected the human body is. The spine and nervous system are so closely bound to every other system in the body, that adjustments for something like a heart condition make sense! -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
Galaasen Bakken A, Axén I, Eklund A, O’Neill S. The effect of spinal manipulative therapy on heart rate variability and pain in patients with chronic neck pain: a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2019 Oct 12;20(1):590. doi: 10.1186/s13063-019-3678-8. PMID: 31606042; PMCID: PMC6790043.
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