When it comes to heart health, some conditions fly under the radar yet deserve our full attention. Heart block is one such condition. Heart block, also called atrioventricular (AV) block, is a heart condition that causes the heart to beat abnormally and more slowly than it should.
Heart block can occur in the first, second, or third degree, depending on the severity of the block. While not as common as other arrhythmias, second-degree heart block is important to understand because it involves the heart beating in an unpredictable (and abnormal) rhythm.
What is Second-Degree Heart Block?
In simplest terms, second-degree heart block is like a miscommunication in the heart’s electrical system. The heart relies on electrical signals for its beats. Those beats begin in the upper chambers of the heart (atria) and move down the heart to the lower chambers (ventricles).
For those with second-degree heart block, these signals sometimes don’t make it all the way through the heart. As a result, not every signal prompts a heartbeat like it should. As the name suggests, the electrical signal becomes blocked in the heart.
There are two key types of 2nd degree heart blocks:
- Mobitz Type I (Wenckebach): The electrical signals slow down progressively until a beat is skipped, and then the cycle repeats.
- Mobitz Type II: Here, the heart randomly skips beats without any warning or pattern.
How Does Second-Degree Heart Block Affect You?
The symptoms of second-degree heart block can vary. Some people might experience dizziness, fatigue, or even fainting spells, primarily because their heart isn’t pumping as consistently as it should. Others might not notice anything unusual. But whether you feel symptoms or not, it’s a condition that shouldn’t be ignored.
Generally speaking, Mobitz Type I is less serious and can sometimes occur in seemingly healthy individuals. Mobitz Type II, on the other hand, is typically more concerning and could be a sign of more significant heart issues.
What Causes Second-Degree Heart Block?
Second-degree heart block can arise from various factors:
- Age-related Changes: As we age, the heart’s electrical system can wear down.
- Heart Disease: Conditions like coronary artery disease or heart attack can damage the heart’s electrical pathways.
- Certain Medications: Ironically, drugs for high blood pressure or heart conditions can contribute to heart block.
- Congenital Heart Defects: Some are born with a predisposition to heart block.
Treating Second-Degree Heart Block
The conventional treatment landscape for second-degree heart block is diverse:
- Monitoring: Regular monitoring may be sufficient for mild cases, especially Mobitz Type I.
- Medication Adjustments: If medications are contributing to the condition, a change in prescription can be effective.
- Pacemaker: In more severe cases, particularly Mobitz Type II, implanting a pacemaker can regulate the heart’s rhythm.
Treating second-degree heart block isn’t just about addressing the symptoms; it’s about getting to the root of the problem. This could involve examining past heart damage or factors like diet, stress, and toxin exposure.
Did your heart obtain damage in the past? By identifying the root cause, your heart block may be reversible. The underlying reason for heart damage is nearly always inflammation, which can be caused by:
- Toxin exposure, such as mold, heavy metals, or air pollution
- Poor diet, such as exposure to chemicals and pesticides in food
- Excessive stress and an imbalanced nervous system
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Inadequate rest/sleep
- Overuse of alcohol, drugs, or even pharmaceuticals
The Triad of Heart Wellness: Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well
Adopting a holistic approach to heart health is crucial, and the best way to treat second-degree heart block is to address the root causes that put the heart in a compromised condition in the first place.
- Eat Well: Embrace a heart-friendly diet. Think organic vegetables, grass-fed meat and organs, wild seafood, nuts, and seeds. Avoid processed foods, gluten, sugar, and vegetable seed oils.
- Live Well: Regular exercise, quality sleep, chiropractic care, avoiding/removing toxic exposures, and steering clear of electrosmog all help the heart.
- Think Well: Managing stress through relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, spending time with loved ones, and taking an active approach to your health, can all positively impact your heart’s health.
If you suspect you might have second-degree heart block or are experiencing symptoms like dizziness or fainting, the experienced team at NHD is here to help. We’ve assisted countless other patients in similar situations.
For those seeking more personalized guidance, our team offers a complimentary 20-minute consultation. This preliminary chat is a step towards understanding and proactively managing your heart health. Remember, your heart’s rhythm tells a unique story, and tuning into it is essential for a healthy life journey.