People who are suffering from IRDs or Inherited Rhythm Disorders have irregular heartbeats, which are also known as arrhythmias. The condition on being diagnosed can be treated and people can lead a normal life with appropriate care and the right medication. The condition can however lead to a number of complications, causing seizures and fainting spells. In fact, it could also lead to SADS or Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome. This condition could occur in people across all ages from children to young adults who are healthy otherwise, and have had no medical history of any heart condition.
Types of IRDs
There are a few types of IRDs and they are listed below:
Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC)
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) – This condition may not be very common, but it could lead to the development of arrhythmias, which could cause a case of sudden death.
Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome
Long QT syndrome
Brugada syndrome (BrS) – This disorder causing abnormal beats in the ventricles of bottom chambers of one’s heart. If the condition is not diagnosed and therefore not treated, it could cause irregular heartbeats, sudden death and fainting spells as well.
Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT)
CPVT is an arrhythmia that leads to cardiac arrest or fainting during physical activity or during immense emotional stress. The occurrence of this condition is high in young individuals.
Short QT intervals (SQT)
This is characterized by an arrhythmia during which, the muscles of the heart recharge between beats in a shorter time. This could lead to a host of complications like fainting and cardiac arrest.
Warning Signs and Symptoms
If you have an IRD, a number of symptoms could surface and sometimes there may be no symptoms at all, this could depend on a number of factors. IRDs however, are the underlying cause of SADS, a few of the symptoms are as follows:
1) Seizures of fainting during physical activity.
2) Seizures or fainting during emotional stress or when one is startled.
3) Family history of sudden death caused during a seizure or during physical activity of a person who is normally healthy.
4) While fainting may be a common concern faced by a number of people, it should be examined further if it takes place during physical activity or is caused due to emotional distress as it could indicate signs of SADS.
What should one do?
If someone in your family does have these symptoms, it is important that you see your family doctor request him to put you on to a cardiologist for a cardiac assessment, which include exercise tests and analysis of heart rhythms.
In case the condition is diagnosed, immediate relatives should be screened as well, as there is a 50% chance that they could have the disorder as well.
The first step is paying attention to the history of the symptoms and taking note if someone in the family has or has had IRD. Your doctor will conduct a few tests, before the appropriate treatment is recommended. These tests will include:
1) Electrophysiology Studies
2) ECG or EKG – Electrocardiogram
3) Stress Test –Exercise Electrocardiogram
4) Event Monitoring or Holter
There are a number of treatment options available, and only depending on the symptoms and family history will your doctor be able to decide what is most suitable for you. With the proper medication and changes in lifestyle habits, one can lead a normal and healthy life. It is important that one consults a Registered Holistic Nutritionist to learn what foods one must have to keep their heart healthy. A homeopath too can help tremendously to make one maintain a good and strong heart rhythm.