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Can your Heart Stop?

Can your Heart Stop?

Can your heart stop beating for a moment and then start again? Well, don’t get shocked, but the answer is ‘yes’.

This condition is more common in a healthy individual. When we sleep, our heart also slows down and its beats get reduced from an average of 60-70 per minute to as low as 30 per minute. It is also possible that the heart might not beat for some few seconds (3-4 seconds); this happens when the heart rate is really low. However, if it continues for as long as 6 seconds, then it is not good.

This indicates that the individual is suffering from a type of disorder whereby his/her heart beats irregularly. This is common in the case of arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, which is very common. There have been such cases where people have been declared dead and later they have woken up in the morgue. However, these are very rare cases.

A rarest of rare case happened in the year 2012. During a Premier League Match, Fabrice Muamba, a footballer playing for Bolton Wanderers, suffered a cardiac arrest. His heart had stopped beating for as long as 78 minutes, but later he revived and recovered fully. This was possible because of the outstanding medical care he received immediately after his collapse. Unfortunately, everyone is not that lucky! Refer to the article for more details: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/mar/25/muamba-collapse-minute-by-minute.

In cases where you feel that you are experiencing skipping of heart beats frequently, then you should definitely consult a doctor.

Many people experience a feeling that their hearts have stopped beating for a second and these are known as premature beats. It is mostly seen among healthy people and it is made worse with too much consumption of caffeine such as soda or coffee or energy drinks. Then the best thing to do is to cut down on caffeine consumption.

Apart from these, other serious conditions mainly involve irregularities in the electric rhythm of the heart that can indicate similar symptoms. A proper examination of the heart can only reveal if it is a matter of concern. Alternatively, an electrocardiogram (where the heart is electrically traced) can also be performed to find out the root cause.

While visiting a doctor to discuss such a symptom, one must also mention about his/her family history about heart problems. Apart from this, other alarming symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, fainting, and chest pain should also be mentioned to the doctor.

Again skipping of the heartbeat can also result from very fast heartbeats called tachycardia. In this, the heart beats so fast that one feels as if it is skipping a few beats. This mainly happens when one is over excited, anxious or from caffeine beverages.

Another kind of skipped beat is called PVC or Premature Ventricular Complex. It arises from the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart) and can be found in healthy people. Nevertheless, it occurs frequently in people suffering from abnormal conditions of the heart.

PVCs are themselves not life threatening. However, they may hint at other types of illnesses like heart failure, Valvular conditions, high BP, damaged muscles of the heart etc.

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