An arrhythmia is an instance where the heart beats irregularly. This can mean the heart beats too slowly, fast, early, or simply falls out of its normal rhythm. Arrhythmias are caused by factors such as genetics, substance abuse and mental stress, and in most cases they occur without any lasting consequences, but at their worst arrhythmias can be life threatening. Researchers in Canada have recently discovered the underlying causes to a particularly nasty arrhythmia that has been a mystery for decades and can cause sudden death: calcium-triggered arrhythmias.

Calcium is a key molecule in regulating the heart’s rhythm by affecting its electrical activity. The ryanodine receptor is a key mechanism responsible for the release of calcium ions in the heart, and it is this receptor that researchers focused on. They discovered that a calcium-sensing gate in the ryanodine receptor was responsible for creating large influxes of calcium that lead to calcium-triggered arrhythmias. The researchers reported that during their tests, manipulating the calcium sensor in mice, they were able to completely prevent calcium-triggered arrhythmias from happening. As a result, research is now being focused on creating medications that work to prevent arrhythmias in the same fashion that was performed during these tests.

Although this research is vital to saving the lives of future sufferers of calcium-triggered arrhythmias, prevention starts with the individual, and there are a few things people can do to cut down on their risks to suffering cardiac arrhythmias:

  • Cut down on alcohol and drug usage

  • Reduce intake of coffee

  • Stop smoking

  • Take time to relieve mental stress

  • Take steps to lower blood pressure

  • Keep track of medications, herbal treatments and dietary supplements

To find out more about arrhythmias, and efficient measures to maintaining a healthy heart, contact us or visit the Medicomp Inc. website today.