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What can cause arrhythmia?

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Arrhythmia can be caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid and changes to the structure of the heart, says Mayo Clinic. A person who is having a heart attack may experience arrhythmia, and a person who has had a heart attack may experience arrhythmia because of scarring.

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People who smoke or overuse caffeine or alcohol also suffer from arrhythmias, claims Mayo Clinic. Arrhythmias can also be caused by air pollution, an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, stress and drug abuse. Some prescription medicines can cause arrhythmias, as can herbal and dietary supplements. A person who has an electrical shock can also experience an arrhythmia.

Because so many things can cause an arrhythmia, it is important that a person who suffers from them find out what is causing them, states Mayo Clinic. Doctors find out the cause by taking medical histories of their patients and examining them. A doctor may order tests such as the electrocardiogram or fit the patient with a Holter monitor, which is a portable electrocardiogram that records what the patient's heart is doing throughout the day. Other tests are echocardiograms and event monitors. Event monitors are used by patients whose arrhythmias are sporadic. The patient presses a button on the monitor whenever she feels an arrhythmia.

Doctors may also conduct stress tests, tilt table tests and electrophysiological testing and mapping, claims Mayo Clinic.

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