An arrhythmia can be caused by coronary artery disease, electrolyte imbalance, drugs, alcohol, even caffeine.
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What is an Arrhythmia and its causes? Dr. Amy Epps: Your heart is controlled by a nervous sort of headquarters, Nerve Head Quarters, and each heart beat is triggered by an impulse, and then it sends signals down through the heart muscle down nerve pathways to cause the rest of the heart to contract and beat. And any time there's a disease process or a disruption to that impulse, you can get an Arrhythmia. When do you go see a doctor? Dr. Amy Epps: You can have very Benign or Non significant Arrhythmias, such as, if you would drink a lot of caffeine, you make for your heart skip a few beats, that's very normal, we call this palpitations, that's very normal. You can have one not so benign or malignant Arrhythmias, which means, Bad Arrhythmias where your heart suddenly goes into a wild, irregular, erratic, heart beat, and eventually can cause you to pass out and ultimately die. That's certainly much more concerning, and form a much more severe disease process of the heart muscle itself. What are the causes of arrhythmia? Dr. Amy Epps: So Arrhythmia can be caused by coronary artery disease, a blockage to the coronary can damage the heart muscle around the nerve conduction headquarters and kill those nerves off to cause an arrhythmia. But it also can be caused by other aspects, such as electrolyte imbalance, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, cocaine, those things can effect the conduction system of the heart alone, without it being a coronary artery disease problem, and still cause a form of heart disease.