When we require to look at the activity of the heart, the technique we generally adopt is ECG i.e. Electrocardiograph. As the heart functions by the signals initiating in the form of electrical impulses, any abnormality in the electrical conductivity has serious implications on the activity of the heart and on the overall functioning of the body.
When we look at the electrocardiograph, we will find various zones which are defined as P, Q, R, S and T. The QT interval is measured from the beginning of QRS complex till the end of T zone. If the QT interval is long, then the patient is said to be diagnosed with long QT syndrome (LQTS). There are various methods to manage the prolong QT interval such as by medicines and by making lifestyle changes.
What are The Lifestyle Changes for Long QT Syndrome?
In long QT syndrome, the heart fails to supply the sufficient quantity of blood in the demanding conditions. Thus, in the demanding conditions or stress, the heart tries to generate excess power and thus may fail causing sudden death. This can be largely prevented by avoiding the condition that requires excess amount of blood in the system.
Following are the lifestyle changes to be followed by the long QT syndrome patient to avoid any symptoms of long QT syndrome such as fainting:
Strenuous Exercise: As the strenuous exercise requires abundant energy and increased blood flow, these exercises such as swimming should be avoided by the patient.
Contact Sports: In some patients, there is a pacemaker fitted which is an integral part to maintain proper functioning of heart. In contact sports such as rugby or football, there are chances that the pace-maker may dislodge from its position. Such contact sports should be avoided.
Informed Neighborhood: Keep informed your friends or neighbors about your disease and related symptoms so that they may provide you instant help in case you feel fainted.
Loud Noises: Loud noises such as loud music or loud alarm sound should be avoided as a lifestyle change; as this may also increase the risk of arrhythmia.
Eating Healthy: The risk of inducement of LQTS symptoms may also be due to deficiency of calcium and potassium ions. Thus, the food should be healthy and also includes the source of such ions.
The functioning of the heart is such that it charges, discharges and recharges. In LQTS there is an abnormality in the ion regulation mechanism, which causes an interval more than the normal to recharge. When this interval is longer than normal it leads to arrhythmia and can also result in life threatening condition. It may be genetic or acquired. In genetic LQTS, there is a mutation in the genes regulating the ionic exchange. The acquired LQTS may be due to medication or deficiency of calcium and potassium ions, which is case in severe diarrhea. The risk increases in people having family history of LQTS, chronic electrolytic imbalance and who are deaf by birth.
Treatment of Long QT Syndrome
There is no definitive treatment for long QT syndrome even though it is directly visible on electrocardiograph. However, the doctor improves the chances of survival and prevents the patient from sudden death by advising the patients to refrain them from the things that could trigger cardiac arrhythmia. Following are the treatment:
- Avoiding the medicines that could trigger arrhythmia. That could be certain antidepressant, antipsychotics etc.
- Making certain lifestyle changes.
- Sometime beta blockers may be prescribed to the patients to lower the risk.
- Surgery is also required in some patients.
Although there is no general treatment of long QT syndrome, however the objective of the medical professional is to reduce the triggering of symptoms and prevent the sudden death of the patient. This may be achieved through medications and changes in the life style. The life style changes include avoiding strenuous exercise and contact sports; avoid loud noises and eating a healthy diet.