A pacemaker is a small, electronic device that is implanted inside a person’s upper chest in order to regulate the pacing of one’s heartbeat. Its sole job is to mimic the body’s natural sinus rhythm or heart rate. It is designed to be surgically implanted fairly easily, requiring only minor surgery, and it is comprised of two main components: a generator and a group of leads, or electrodes. The way it works is by monitoring your heart rate and, if necessary, sending an electrical signal that acts as a stabilizer. It is smart enough to determine whether an increased heart rate is caused by activity or a faulty pacing system in the human body. There are several reasons why a person might need a pacemaker, but regardless of the reason, the main goal is to maintain a steady heartbeat in order to improve a person’s quality of life.
People might need to have a pacemaker installed for any number of reasons. One reason is if they suffer from an arrhythmia, which means an irregular heartbeat. Arrhythmias can be caused by any number of issues, but the most common ones are coronary artery disease, electrolyte imbalances, valve disorders, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, or the aftereffects of a heart attack. There are other variations of this irregularity, known as tachyarrhythmia, which means a fast heartbeat and bradycardia, which means a slow heartbeat. Regardless of which disorder the person suffers from, the symptoms are likely to be similar. These include shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, chest pain, or fainting.
Another reason people might need a pacemaker is because of the normal aging process, which might disrupt some people’s heart rate organically. This causes the heart to beat too slowly, prompting a need for a regulator. Another reason is that there might just be a genetic component to developing an abnormal heartbeat. In addition, sometimes the heart can be affected by the medications you take.
Although the surgery is considered relatively minor, there are precautions that are advised after having a pacemaker installed. It is strongly advised that you take a break from doing any heavy lifting or participating in what are considered rough contact sports. It’s also cautioned to avoid lifting your arms too high at first. Doctors also advise people to wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid irritating the incision site and monitor yourself for any signs of distress caused by the surgery, such as longstanding fevers or any swelling or redness.