Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is drug therapy for arrhythmia costly?"
I was recently diagnosed with arrhythmia and would like to know as much information as possible about how to prepare for it and anything that might happen. I am a 24 year old guy who plays a lot of sports. They told me about drug therapy, but is that safe?
Arrhythmia is a somewhat vague term that is used to describe an irregular heart beat. Given that there are multiple chambers in the heart, and that any or all of them can be involved, it is important to know more details before answering the question. One of the most common types of arrhythmia, especially in older people, is atrial fibrillation.
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This is when the part of the heart that normally starts the electrical stimulus that makes a heartbeat, the atria, fires at irregular intervals. This can be controlled either with drugs that affect the rate of firing, or drugs that affect the abnormal rhythm that ensues. The risks, costs, and side effects of the medications will vary based on whether you and your doctor are treating the rate or the rhythm. Additionally, it is often necessary for people with irregular rhythms to require a blood thinner so as to reduce their risk of stroke. For younger people, things are even more complicated, as there are so many possibilities that it would be beyond the scope of this article to discuss them without knowing your complete diagnosis. Please discuss all of your questions and concerns with your cardiologist, who will be best able to answer them for you.
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