Health Tips for Seniors

Tachycardia and Fibrillation of the Heart

Tachycardia (Fast Heart). In this condition, the heartbeat rate speeds up two or three times the normal rate. It is often found in young people with no serious heart disease, but who are frequently bothered with these uncomfortable and terrifying attacks. Relief is often obtained by taking and holding a deep breath or firmly massaging the side of the neck and still another


Fig. 56. Tachycardia is temporary rapid speed-up of the heart beat. It may be twice the normal rate, start up at any time and last minutes or hours, stopping as suddenly as it started.

way is drinking something cold. While tachycardia is usually not serious, there may be some important underlying factors involved and if the attacks are frequent, the physician should be consulted to follow any necessary precautions.

Fibrillation of the Heart. This means a loss of all regularity to the heartbeat and the heart rate becomes similar to falling rain drops. If the heartbeat is anything like marching feet, it is not fibrillation.


Fig. 57. Fibrillation is heart-beat irregularity with no semblance of “bouncing ball” rhythm. Irregular as rain on the roof, it may go on for years, with questionable significance.

his heartbeat irregularity can be temporary or permanent, and is often related to other disease, possibly within the heart as in rheumatic heart disease, or completely outside of the heart, as in thyroid disease. Sometimes fibrillation can go on for years with no apparent ill effect, but certain dangers are constantly present in these hearts. Regaining a regular heart beat is possible if associated disease is cured, otherwise useful drugs are available which may greatly benefit the heart action in spite of continued fibrillation.

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