How to Detect Heart Blockage

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A heart blockage (also called atrioventricular) is a bradycardio, or a heartbeat that is too slow. The heart is stimulated by electrical signals, and when the electrical signals are blocked either partially or totally between the upper and lower chambers of the heart, severe side effects may occur. Depending on the type of heart blockage, you may experience a variety of symptoms. If at any time you do suffer heart blockage symptoms, or are unsure of your condition, contact your doctor for immediate medical care.

Things You'll Need

  • Watch
  • Family medical history
  • Investigate your family history of cardiovascular illness. If cardiovascular illnesses, such as heart disease, heart attacks or heart blockages run in your family, you may be at elevated risk for heart blockages and you should discuss this history with your primary care physician to address potential problems before they occur. This is especially important because the simplest form of heart blockage does not give any recognizable symptoms that you would be able to detect at home.

  • Measure your resting heartbeat by pressing your right pointer and middle finger on top of the blood vein on your left wrist. Count how many beats you feel in one minute. A healthy heart should beat between 60 and 80 times per minute. If your heart is beating fewer times than that (especially 40 or below), you may have a complete heart blockage and should seek medical attention immediately.

  • Recognize the most common symptoms associated with a heart blockage: shortness of breath (when performing regular activities or easy cardiovascular exercise), heart palpitations or noticeably irregular heartbeats, light-headedness or fainting, and discomfort in your chest. All of these are symptoms of a potentially blocked heart, and if you experience any of these symptoms, or more than one of these symptoms at a time, you should immediately seek medical attention.

  • Measure your heart's response to exercise. The best way to do this is to measure your heartbeat immediately after cardiovascular exercise (such as running for several minutes). If your heart is not beating at least 60 times for minute, you may have a heart blockage. In addition, it may be very difficult, even impossible for you to exercise if you have a heart blockage. The reason for this is that if the heart is beating too slowly, it will not allow your blood to deliver the required oxygen your muscles need to exercise. Therefore if you feel unable to exercise, light-headed or extremely weak while exercising, you may have a heart blockage and should see immediate medical attention.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not rely on self-diagnosis alone. Any time that you have concerns of a heart blockage, if you are exhibiting any of the symptoms of a heart blockage or fall into a category of someone who is more prone to heart blockage (older people, smokers or those with family histories of heart blockage), you should contact your doctor to discuss treatment options.

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