Health Conditions - For Everyone

Causes of Arrhythmia
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Causes of arrhythmia

Arrhythmia can be caused by a whole range of reasons, but sometimes the cause is never found (especially in those arrhythmias that do not have any basis in heart disease and are not serious).

Some of the most common causes of arrthymias are:

Abnormal blood chemistry

If certain substances in the blood are unbalanced, it could cause arrhythmia. The most common reasons are due to an imbalance (usually deficiency) of:

Anxiety or intense emotions

Anxiety or very intense emotions can often cause a "flutter" type of heart beat or to feel that the heart is racing, or skipping a beat. This type of arrhythmia is usually not serious, but if it continues unabated, it should be investigate by a doctor to rule out any underlying serious heart problems. Several recent studies are showing that depression, anger, prolonged stress and intense emotions may cause arrhythmia and also heart disease.

Certain illicit and prescription drugs

Certain illicit drugs may cause an increased heart rate, palpitations and arrhythmias which can range from benign to life threatening. The most common drugs to cause this type of symptom are: speed and cocaine (or any drugs that are derivatives of either).

Certain prescription medications can also cause arrhythmia as a side effect. The most common medications to cause this type of side effect are:



A high intake (or even moderate intake for some people) is enough to cause arrhythmias. The arrhythmias normally occur due to the stimulatory effect of caffeine on the heart. People who are concerned should cut down on their caffeine intake.

There are some guidelines for maximum caffeine intake for children and adults (from the Canadian government):

The most common sources of caffeine are:


In some people exercise can precipitate arrhythmia in certain circumstance, some of which are completely normal and others which may be serious, or potentially life threatening.


Sometimes a fever can cause an arrhythmia. This type of arrhythmia is normally benign and does not usually signify a underlying problem with the heart.

Heart disease

Many diseases of the heart can cause abnormal heart beats and very serious heart disorders can cause tachycardia (very fast heartbeats).


Sometimes being under prolonged stress can cause the heart to beat a little bit fast or skip a beat. This is because of the effect that the stress hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) have on the heart. People concerned about stress should engage in some meditation or other types of relaxation therapy.

Thyroid disorder

An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can cause the heart beat to increase as one of the symptoms of this disorder. Sometimes the medications for an underactive thyroid can cause arrhythmia if they over-stimulate the thyroid.


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  Last reviewed: 27 October 2007 || Last updated: 9 January 2009


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NOTE: Mega doses of any type of vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of complementary supplements.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.


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