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Heart arrythmia

Category: Illness or disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

An arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart rate (pulse) or heart rhythm, such as beating too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly. Asystole colloquially known as flatline, is a state of no cardiac electrical activity, hence no contractions of the myocardium and no cardiac output. 

The term Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-fib) also means  an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by rapid and irregular beating. Often it starts as brief periods of abnormal beating which become longer and possibly constant over time.

Torsades de pointes or torsade de pointes  (French:  "twisting of the spikes"), is a specific type of abnormal heart rhythm that can potentially lead to sudden cardiac death. It is a polymorphic ventricular tachycardia that exhibits distinct characteristics on the electrocardiogram (ECG). It was described by Dessertenne in 1966.

Prolonged QT interval; Torsades de Pointes (TdP).

Symptoms

Palpitations, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, and in the case of TdP, extreme palpitations leading to sudden cardiac death.

Causes

Many cases of arrhythmia are associated with problems of heart failure in general, thus rather than repeat the descriptions in this section, the link can be followed to find the causes where heart failure is being experienced.  There is, for example, a very high incidence where hypertension is a co-symptom with arrythmia, eHealthme have studied these co-factors:

On Nov, 19, 2016;   7,230 people who have Hypertension and Arrhythmia are studied.

 

Arryhthmia is also a symptom of diabetes and hyperglycaemia.  It can also be a symptom of thyroid problems.  The eHealthme team have done a study on this too

On Dec, 09, 2016: 889 people who have Low Thyroid and Arrhythmias are studied.

 

It may even be a side-effect of disease in other proximal organs, for example

in a case quoted by Dr. Carpenter from "Muller's Archives," in which the heart's pulsations were occasionally checked for an interval of from four to six beats, its cessation giving rise to the most fearful anxiety, and to acute pain passing up the head from both sides of the chest, these symptoms were connected, as it proved on a post-mortem examination, with the pressure of an enlarged bronchial gland upon the great cardiac sympathetic nerve (Human Physiology. By Dr. Carpenter. 4th Edit. 1853, p. 475).

But it is worth exploring some very key causes of arrhythmia, as the standard medical treatment for arrhythmia rarely involves addressing the cause, and in some cases the cause can be addressed and the arrythmia cured, drugs are not needed.  Given the side-effects of many arrhythmia drugs, this is exceptionally important.

 

Nutritional deprivation

One very frequent cause of arrhythmia is mineral imbalance – notably

The heart is a muscle and works in the way the other muscles work using minerals.  Bronchospasm and coughing are symptoms of calcium imbalance. Pain is a symptom of calcium imbalance.  Chronically elevated plasma calcium (hypercalcemia), for example, is associated with cardiac arrhythmias.

Potassium ion diffusion is a key mechanism in nerve transmission, and potassium depletion results in various cardiac dysfunctions including heart arrhythmias. In extreme cases hyperkaelemia caused by ACE inhibitors has led to cardiac arrest [of which more in a moment].

According to Wikipedia  "Severe magnesium imbalance can cause hypocalcemia, low serum potassium levels (hypokalemia), retention of sodium, low circulating levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), neurological and muscular symptoms (tremor, fasciculations, muscle spasms, tetany), loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, personality changes and death from heart failure." 

As all the minerals interact with each other any form of imbalance can have its knock on effect.  These imbalances can be caused by pharmaceuticals [of which more in a moment], but they can also be caused by dietary supplements and mineral supplements.  Supplements appear to be implicated in a very large number of cases of mineral imbalance related arrythmias, for example using the ehealthme site again:

On Nov, 22, 2016:   45,125 people reported to have side effects when taking Calcium.
Among them, 380 people (0.84%) have Arrhythmia

 

On Nov, 27, 2016:  17,129 people reported to have side effects when taking Magnesium.  Among them, 357 people (2.08%) have Arrhythmia

 

Given that few people think of supplements as 'bad' [since they buy them from a 'Health store' and are told on the packet that the supplements are 'essential minerals ', which they are of course, but not in overdose proportions,] that it is interesting to have so many reported.  One suspects there is a great deal of under reporting going on within this category.

 

Hypoxia

There is a very clear link with arrhythmias and various forms of asphyxiation. For example:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Smoke inhalation - accidental or deliberate including the smoke produced by smudge sticks
  • Overlay -  in which an adult accidentally rolls over an infant during co-sleeping, an accident that often goes unnoticed and is mistakenly thought to be sudden infant death syndrome
  • Inhaling nitrous oxide - recreationally or during a visit to the dentist's surgery, or other forms of anaesthesia
  • Inhaling volatiles and gases - A number of volatile gases can cause arrythmias – butane and CFCs for example.  Thus glue sniffers can get permanent arrythmias

Sleep apnea is implicated in causing arrhythmias.

Being anaesthetised - Many volatile anaesthetics  can cause arrhythmias including isoflurane, desflurane and even chloroform.  The arrythmias are permanent even though the anesthetic has 'worn off'.  For example the eHealthme site have done a study into the correlation

On Nov, 23, 2016:  527 people who have Anaesthesia and Arrhythmia are studied.

 

Thus one path of investigation should always be to see if there are any appliances in the home that are leaking gas – old fridges, central heating boilers, gas stoves, and a check to see that the flues or exhaust vents are not blocked or leaking

Radiation

All radiation whether 'cosmic' or electromagnetic impacts our bodies and depending on its frequency, it resonates different parts of us.  The reason that nuclear radiation is so dangerous is that it impacts cells, but what we appear to have overlooked is that all radiation impacts some part of us.  Every aggregate in our bodies - organs, cells, the body itself, has natural ‘resonance’.  Resonance is a substance’s natural tendency to oscillate – vibrate – at maximum amplitude at certain frequencies, known as the thing’s resonant frequency.  And some radiation affects the heart.  High intensity radiation affects the heart in the short term, but even low exposure radiation of the 'right' frequency can have an effect in the long term.

 Pharmaceuticals

 The website eHealthme collects the Adverse Drug reports in the USA submitted by doctors to the FDA and SEDA.  There appears, from their statistics to be a growing problem with pharmaceuticals as the cause of arrythmia.  Given that many doctors are not geared to making this causal link, this graph is probably only the tip of the iceberg, this trend is worrying.

Trend of arrythmia as a side effect of pharmaceuticals - source:eHealthme:

 

Wikipedia

TdP as a prescription drug side effect has been a major liability and reason for withdrawal of medications from the marketplace. Examples include amiodarone, methadone, lithium, chloroquine, erythromycin, amphetamine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, methylphenidate and phenothiazines.  It can also be the side effect of some antiarrhythmic medications such as sotalol, procainamide and quinidine. The gastrokinetic drug cisapride (Propulsid) was withdrawn from the US market in 2000 after such interactions led to deaths caused by long QT syndrome-induced torsades de pointes.
In September 2011 (subsequently updated in March 2012 and February 2013), the FDA issued a warning concerning increased incidence of QT elongation with doses of the antidepressant Celexa (citalopram) above 40 mg per day, which is considered the maximum allowable dosage, increasing the risk of Torsades.

It might be worth adding that ephedrine is found in many cough syrups - some of which are available over the counter and are given to children.

As is mentioned in the quote above one of the most worrying aspects of this is that the anti-arrythmia drugs themselves appear to cause arrythmia, for example

Amiodarone/Cordarone is a class III antiarrhythmic agent used for various types of cardiac dysrhythmias, both ventricular and atrial. It was discovered in 1961.

On Nov, 29, 2016:  15,293 people reported to have side effects when taking Cordarone.  Among them, 834 people (5.45%) have Arrhythmia

 

This LINK takes you to the section on arrythmias on eHealthme.  Scroll down and find the section 'Drugs that could cause'.  The list is updated regulalry using Adverse Drug reports associating them with the problem.  The list also shows the number of reports - people - to have suffered from that medication.  As at November 2016, over 2,700 drugs were implicated in causing arrythmias.

There are a very large number of reports from drugs based on Amphetamines and stimulants - as is to be expected.  Thus we have:

  • ADHD drugs as major contributors
  • Cough medicines - many cough medicines are based on DXM and also ephedrine and both are classified as stimulants and can cause tachcardia and arrhythmias.  There is an added nasty twist surounding cough medicines.  Acetylcysteine is a derivative of cysteine. This compound is often sold as a 'dietary supplement' commonly claiming antioxidant and liver protecting effects, neither of which it possesses. It is used as, or in, cough medicines because it breaks disulfide bonds in mucus and liquefies it, making it easier to cough up. It is also this action of breaking disulfide bonds that cause it to be used for thinning the abnormally thick mucus in cystic and pulmonary fibrosis patients.  Unfortunately one of the side effects is arrythmia

On Dec, 01, 2016:  4,156 people reported to have side effects when taking Acetylcysteine.  Among them, 156 people (3.75%) have Arrhythmia



but we also have, and please note that this list is not exhaustive but illustrative:

  • Acne treatments
  • Chloral hydrate causes arrhythmias.
  • Beta blockers - such as Atenolol, Carvedilol, Coreg etc.  It is worth noting that this class of drugs seem to have produced a very large number of cases of arrythmia.  Carvedilol alone has produced over 1000 cases.
  • Blood thinners - such as Warfarin/Coumadin
  • Anti-anxiety drugs - such as Alprazolam and Xanax among many others, some of these are  benzodiazepines.
  • ACE inhibitors - can cause arrhythmias such as Accupril and Quinapril as well as Ramipril
  • Insomnia treatments - such as Zolpidem (brand names Ambien, Ambien CR, Intermezzo, Stilnox, Stilnoct, Sublinox, Hypnogen, Lunata, Zonadin, Sanval, Zolsana and Zolfresh)
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Osteoporosis treatments and drugs - here one can see the link clearly between mineral imbalances and the drugs, examples include Aredia
  • Antibiotics - such as Amoxycillin
  • Calcium channel blockers - such as Nifedipine (brand names Adalat CC and Procardia and Amlodipine
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-psychotics can cause arrythmias eg Abilify
  • Diabetes treatments themselves can cause arrythmia, for example Pioglitazone (brand name Actos) and Rosiglitazone (trade name Avandia)
  • Gout treatments - such as Allopurinol, sold under the brand name Zyloprim
  • Diuretics - such as Spironolactone and Aldactone
  • Anti-histamines - such as Fexofenadine, an antihistamine drug sold under the brand names Allegra, Allerfexo, Telfast
  • Pain killers and NSAIDs - including aspirin and paracetemol.  Some drugs such as Valdecoxib is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and painful menstruation and menstrual symptoms thus it can be found classified as treatment for these illnesses as well
  • Asthma treatments - generally the bronchodilators, examples include Advair, Salbutamol or albuterol and Ventolin
  • Epilepsy drugs - epilepsy drugs are being used 'off-label' to treat a number of illnesses unrelated to epilepsy and as such this may be one of the reasons why arrhythmia is assocated with them
  • Multiple sclerosis treatments - MS itself is also associated with this as a co-symptom, but MS is not the cause, what ever is attacking the nerves is the cause
  • Migraine treatments - these pharmaceuticals are often based on the use of vasoconstriction and although the belief seems to be that only the blood vessels in the head are affected, the evidence seems to indicate more general effects are felt. Medications such as Diltiazem actually a calcium channel blocker is also used off-label as 'preventive medication' for migraine.
  • Statins - such as Atorvastatin and Lipitor.  There is a strong correlation between those with lower than normal cholesterol and problems  of arrhythmia, the eHealthme site has done a study on this.  It is possible that whatever is actually attacking the heart and destroying the cells of the heart is causing damage, and that statins, by reducing the only repair substance the body produces - cholesterol - the heart progressively becomes more damaged

On Dec, 09, 2016:   1,705 people who have Lower Cholesterol and Arrhythmia are studied.

 

 And finally for all those people who have been instructed by their doctor to take aspirin in order to, theoretically, prevent the risk of stroke, here we have another interesting statistic from eHealthme

On Nov, 18, 2016: 185,023 people reported to have side effects when taking Aspirin.
Among them, 4,748 people (2.57%) have Arrhythmia

 

 

 Stress

There is a clear link between people who are tense and stressed and arrhythmias.  Stress produces permannet excitation of the sympathetic nervous system in a form of simulated flight or fight response.  As a consequence it puts continual pressure on your heart and acts much like amphetamines do, keeping you awake and on the go, sleep deprivation causes illness in general.  Again, eHealthme did a study on the correlation between stress and arrythmia

On Dec, 09, 2016:  1,408 people who have Stress and Arrhythmia are studied.

Treatment

The medical profession use anti-arrythmia drugs and in cases of emergency treatment or sudden cases of arrythmia, they are essential treatment. The alternative used is the pace-maker, again essential in cases where the heart is simply failing.

But in cases where the arrythmia is of long duration or has been with the person some time the cause needs to be investigated, as it may be relatively easily addressed.

How it works

The main cause of the hallucinations experienced in arrythmia,  appears to be Hypoxia.

 

Related observations