For one, it is different from a heart attack, says Vanita Arora.
The fluttering of your heart is not always a sign of love, nor is the skipping of a beat.
The fluttering could be a sign that you need to pay attention to your heart.
Even if your health parameters are more or less fine, if your heart is not beating right, it is reason enough to see a doctor.
Arrhythmias, also called irregular heartbeats, fluttering, palpitations and so on can put you in grave danger, even causing a sudden cardiac arrest.
Unfortunately in India, we do not have a national registry for cardiac deaths so it is difficult to predict the number of people dying due to SCDs.
However, a look at the macro factors removes any doubt whether Indians are at the brink of cardiac emergency.
An India Spend research in the year 2016 showed that cardiovascular diseases kill 1.7 million Indians every year.
What is abnormal beating of the heart?
Our heart beats regularly, without stopping, while we are alive.
It keeps on pumping blood; even when we suffer a heart attack, the pumping of blood does not stop.
Our normal heartbeat rhythm is around 60 to 100 beats per minute when the body is at rest.
The rhythm can vary if a person does extra physical work or is under the effect of some emotional or psychological stimulus.
But arrhythmia is different -- it is the change in our normal heart beat that is triggered by an alteration in the sequence of the electric impulses our heart receives.
Palpitations triggering cardiac arrest
When the heart is not functioning properly for a prolonged period of time, it gives rise to a situation that may lead to sudden cardiac arrest, which is different from a heart attack.
A sudden cardiac arrest means that the heart has suddenly stopped functioning due to irregularity of electric impulses. It leads to almost instantaneous death.
A person who is suffering from cardiac arrhythmia for a long time is at a high risk of cardiac arrest as her/his electric system is not functioning properly.
Some of the common symptoms of various forms of irregular heart beat include breathlessness, dizziness, fluttering in the chest or irregular heartbeats even in normal circumstances.
Other symptoms include chest pain, palpitations, sweating and confusion.
In case the symptoms are detected, the patient should be taken to a cardiac specialist.
A proper check-up from a cardiac electrophysiologist will help determine whether the arrhythmia is dangerous or not.
The right medication, increased physical activity, certain dietary changes, a periodic monitoring of pulse and managing risk factors can ensure a person continues to live with a healthy heart.
Dr Vanita Arora is director and head, cardiac electrophysiology lab and arrhythmia services, Max Superspeciality Hospital.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Louise Docker/Wikimedia Creative Commons