Headaches? Your Doctor Can Help You More Than You Think

Arrhythmia and Sports: Can This Heart Problem Be Resolved?

Sports are a great way to stay in shape and have fun, but heart arrhythmia can make it nearly impossible to continue playing sports. However, it is possible to manage this problem by being aware of possible issues that arrhythmia causes and how to prepare against them:

1. Arrhythmia Pose A Serious Risk For The Athlete

Arrhythmia in athletes will cause their heart to misfire or to beat irregularly during the heat of a sporting event. This can be a dangerous situation, as it can cause the athlete to be confused, to collapse on the court, and to suffer from serious heart-related problems. As a result, athletes with arrhythmia are typically asked not to perform for their own sake.

However, pacemakers or inserted defibrillators have been suggested as a way of managing this serious heart problem. This is a major change from the past, when pacemakers and exercise were considered incompatible. Recent studies have shown that this is, thankfully, not the case.

2. Inserted Defibrillators Can Help

Pacemakers or inserted defibrillators can be used by a wide range of athletes and can help keep their heart at the proper pace. These devices will automatically detect arrhythmia and send a very small shock to the heart to get it to operate properly. Although more common in elderly people, in younger people with arrhythmia they can be a powerful way to continue playing sports.

For example, in one study it was found that people with arrhythmia could play competitive sports with a defibrillator, as long as they stop if they feel symptoms of heart strain or if their defibrillator goes off. Other problems include the dangers of getting hit to the chest, making it advisable to avoid high-impact sports like football.

3. Symptoms Of Series Problems

When playing sports with a defibrillator, it is important to keep track of the symptoms of serious heart problems. While a defibrillator should be able to prevent serious arrhythmia while playing sports, it is advisable to see a doctor immediately if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Severe dizziness
  • Sudden fatigue (outside of the strain of playing the sport)
  • Very lightheaded feeling
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Pain in the chest
  • Short breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fainting or nearly fainting

Defibrillators are an important way of ensuring that a person with arrhythmia maintains a steady and healthy heartbeat. Beyond the important way that they help prevent serious heart problems, they can also help an athlete get back into the game after suffering from a serious arrhythmia. To learn more, contact a company like Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital with any questions about heart problems or heart health.