Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Can people with arrhythmia lead a healthy life without drug therapy?"
Hi, doctor. I have arrhythmia but do not like to put anything unnatural into my body. Is it possible to treat my condition without drug therapy?
There are several different types of arrhythmia, each with its own associated risks and treatments. Some arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, increase the risk of the development of a blood clot within the heart, and patients are often advised to start aspirin or coumadin (depending on personal risk factors) to help minimize this risk. Certain arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation may also cause the heart rate to be too fast, to the point where medications may be needed to control the rate and limit symptoms. Some arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia can be life-threatening, and may require lifelong medical therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence. You should talk to your cardiologist about the specific arrhythmia with which you have been diagnosed. Sometimes patients are eligible for electrophysiology procedures which can reduce the chances of the arrhythmia returning. One example of this is an ablation for atrial flutter. If medications are advised by your doctor, you should talk about the potential side effects to expect; many patients do very well on medications and do not experience adverse events.
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