Understanding Atrial Flutter in a Better Way

Atrial flutter is a heart problem that is characterized by problems with the rhythm of the heart. Atrial flutter occurs when a disturbance is caused in the electrical system of the heart.

The heart is the body that pumps blood. Normally, the atria (a part of the heart) contracts and pushes the blood into the ventricles. The ventricles contract and the right ventricle pumps the blood out to the lungs, whereas the left ventricle pumps the blood to the rest of the body. Now, this contraction of the atria is set by the electrical signal that comes from the heart and ensures that all the muscle fibers contract at the same time, pushing blood to the ventricles. The signals come from the sinus node located at the right atrium.

Atrial flutter occurs when the electrical signal in the heart becomes abnormal. In patients suffering from atrial flutter, the electrical signal travels through the atria rather than regulated by the sinus node. It causes the muscle fiber to contract out of time with each other and leads to the occurrence of the symptoms associated with it. It causes the heartbeat to become irregular.

Symptoms of Atrial Flutter

Some of the symptoms that are common in people who suffer from atrial flutter are as follows:

  • Irregular pulse
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness

Atrial flutter is a serious disorder and is associated with various other complications. The two most common complications associated with atrial flutter are stroke and heart attack.

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Stroke is one of the common risks that is associated with atrial flutter. A stroke is a condition that occurs when damage is caused to the brain due to a lack of the flow of blood. Atrial flutter could affect the blood flow to the brain. When the heart fails to pump blood properly, it leads to the build-up of clots and when these clots travel to the brain or the lungs, it affects the blood flow. This causes a stroke.

It is believed that every year, a large number of people die from a heart attacks. A heart attack is a condition that occurs when the supply of blood to the heart muscles is completely blocked. Coronary arteries are the main arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscles, but sometimes there is a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries. As a result, it affects the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscles. When the coronary arteries fail to supply the blood completely, it causes a heart attack. Heart attack is a life-threatening condition.

Causes of Atrial Flutter

There are many different causes of atrial flutter such as:

1. Hypertension

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure is one of the most common causes of heart diseases, including atrial flutter. High blood pressure is a condition that occurs when the pressure on the walls of the arteries becomes higher than normal. High blood pressure is a chronic problem, which is often known as a silent disease as it doesn’t have any early warning symptoms, it significantly affects a person as it progresses. High blood pressure on the walls of the arteries makes it difficult for the heart to function normally and as a result, it leads to the occurrence of various different heart problems.

2. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) is a lung disease that occurs when the inside of the breathing tubes or airways becomes inflamed or swollen. The inflammation and swelling cause the airways to become smaller than normal, as a result, it interferes in the process of emptying the air out of the lungs.

A chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder is considered to be an independent risk factor for atrial flutter. Severe airflow obstruction significantly increases the risk of developing atrial flutter. There are various causes of COPD such as tobacco smoke, exposure to dust or chemical, and exposure to pollution.  

3. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism, also known as the overactive thyroid gland is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland produces hormones more than required by the body. The thyroid gland primarily produces two hormones that play a vital role in the body, but when the production of these hormones fluctuates, it causes a problem. When hyperthyroidism is left untreated, it significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The overactive thyroid gland affects the heart.

4. Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood glucose levels. Diabetes mellitus is a disorder that can result from impaired insulin production, impaired insulin action, or both. Evidence suggests that uncontrolled glucose level in the blood is one of the major cause of cardiovascular disease. High blood glucose level affects the cardiovascular system and increases the risk of developing heart disease.

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for CheapMedicineShop.com. She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.