Things you need to know
- The irregular beating of the heart, i.e. slower than usual, can be a sign of heart blockage
- Eating a healthy and nutritious diet can reduce the risk of heart diseases
- Exercising and refraining yourself from smoking, drinking and using recreational drugs can reduce the risk of heart blockage by a good percentage
What is heart block
The electric signals control the beating of our heart, and any disruptions in the beating is an indication of partial or complete blockage in the heart. These electric signals travel from the upper chamber of the heart to the lower chamber, and when these electric signals do not travel from the upper chamber to the lower, there is a heart blockage.
Types of heart block
First-degree heart block
- Slight irregularities in the heartbeat such as skipped beats and the electric signals might slow down as they travel from upper to lower chamber
- Signals still reach the lower chamber, i.e. ventricles without interruption
- This is the mildest degree of heart block and generally does not require any treatment
Second-degree heart block
- When some electric signals do not reach the heart, this means the beats are being lost, skipped or interrupted
- The patient may experience dizziness and require a pacemaker
- There are two types of second-degree heart blocks mobitz Type I and mobitz Type II
- In mobitz type I, the electric signals become slower and slower and may decrease a bet overtime
- In mobitz II the electric signals are sent to ventricles, i.e. the lower chamber, but there is no surety that the lower chamber will receive the signals. The electric signals do not gradually slow down. But, this could be a signal towards third-degree heart blocks
Third-degree or complete heart block
- Third-degree heart block means complete blockage in the heart
- Third-degree blockage is common in patients who suffer from heart disease
- Third-degree blockage happens when the electric signals do not travel at all from the upper chamber, i.e. atria, to the lower chamber i.e. ventricles
- To reduce the risk of heart attack or any severe heart disease pacemaker is necessary.
Heart Block- Causes
- Advancing age can be one of the most common causes of heart blockage
- If the heart wires the electric signals are damaged, it can result in heart blockage
- Weakening of the heart muscles due to any heart diseases can lead to heart blockage
- One of the most prevalent causes of heart block is coronary artery disease, which can occur with or without a heart attack
- Heart block can also be caused by electrolyte issues, such as high potassium levels.
- Conditions like heart inflammation, sarcoidosis (lump or growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in parts of the body) and heart diseases can lead to heart blockage
Symptoms of heart blockage
- Palpitations or sluggish or irregular heartbeats
- Difficulty in breathing
- Lightheadedness and dizziness, as well as chest tightness or discomfort
- Difficulty in working out due to poor blood circulated throughout the body
- Chest pain
- All of a sudden, feeling nauseated, exhausted and sweating
- Irregular heartbeats
Diagnosis of heart blockage
- With the help of an ECG, wave abnormalities are detected that indicate heart blockage
- Recording the heart activity with the help of an ECG
- Understanding the electrical activity of the heart with the help of Holter tape (a portable device)
- A physical exam can be conducted to understand any interruptions in the body
- If you have a history of heart block pr diseases, there are high chances of being diagnosed with heart blockage
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking or using recreational drugs, can lead to heart blockage
Treatment of heart blockage
- In case of first-degree heart blockage- you may not require any specific treatment
(Note: For the correct diagnosis and treatment, visit your specialist)
- In case of second-degree heart blockage- you may need a pacemaker if the condition deteriorates and electric signals sent to ventricles are not being received
- In the case of third-degree heart blockage- there is a high probability that the patient will need a pacemaker
Every person’s condition differs, so the duration of life cannot be determined unless the condition is rightly diagnosed.
In the case of the first degree, it may go away on its own, but in second and third-degree heart blockage, the proper treatment is necessary.
Placing a stent in a 100% blocked artery can be challenging and tricky.
By placing your index and middle finger on the hollow area of the inner wrist right next to the thumb base, you should feel a pulse against your fingers. With this method, you can detect a heart blockage at home.