What Are Common Causes of an Irregular Heart Beat?

Causes of irregular heartbeat, called arrhythmia, include high blood pressure, overactive or underactive thyroid gland, excessive alcohol consumption and changes in the structure of the heart, according to Mayo Clinic. Other causes include healing process after a heart surgery and electrolyte imbalance. An irregular heartbeat does not necessarily mean that the heart is beating too slow or too fast, but it means that the heart does not have a normal rhythm, explains WebMD.

An increase in blood pressure can cause coronary artery disease and thickening of the walls of the left ventricle, changing how electrical impulses travel through the heart. An imbalance in electrolytes in the blood, such as potassium and magnesium, using stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, and thyroid problems can interfere with the heart’s electrical impulses, causing arrhythmia. Heart attack, narrowing of the heart arteries and abnormal heart valves can also result in irregular heartbeat, notes Mayo Clinic.

Smoking, living a sedentary lifestyle, being diabetic or overweight and eating foods high in fats can increase the risk of developing arrhythmia, states Healthline. An irregular heartbeat may have no noticeable symptoms and doctors may only detect the condition during pulse rate examination. If symptoms are present, they include shortness of breath, fainting, chest discomfort and pounding in the heart, according to MedicineNet.