Heart blockage: Know the different types, symptoms & causes

Abhikriti Suyal

It takes a strong heart to maintain good health. But despite adopting the best lifestyle practices, there are a few heart conditions that might be inevitable like heart blockage. A heart blockage, medically termed as  atrioventricular (AV) block,  happens when the electrical signals telling your heart to beat are blocked or delayed. In turn, this partial or complete blockage of the signals, makes your heart either beat slowly or skip a beat, as your heart is unable to pump blood properly. Did you know? There is more than one type of heart blockage. Additionally, the type and severity of heart blockage symptoms o depend on the type of heart block you are suffering from.

Different types of heart blockage symptoms and types

Heart blockage is classified by degree, based on the severity of the electrical blockage between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. 

First degree heart blockage

This is known as the mildest type of heart blockage, as it involves really minor disruption of the heartbeat. In this, the electrical signals might be delayed or slowed but do not stop, they still reach the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart. These ventricles do the job of pumping blood out of the heart and into the circulatory system.  

Symptoms of first degree

  • First degree rarely has any symptoms

Second degree heart blockage

It is further categorized into Type 1 & Type II. In type 1, the electrical signals tend to slow down gradually, leading to the point your heart skips a beat. Whereas in type II, the electrical signals sometimes are unable to reach the ventricles. This then causes a slower and abnormal rhythm and may even often progress to third degree heart blockage.

Second degree heart blockage

Symptoms of second degree

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Feeling of your heart skips beats
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing 
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Third degree heart blockage

Highest in terms of severity, it happens when electrical signals stop traveling between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. So, to make up for this the ventricles start beating on their own, making it hard for your heart to pump enough blood to meet the body’s requirements. This condition can be life-threatening, so seek immediate medical assistance.

Symptoms of third degree

  • Intense tiredness
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Cardiac arrest
Chest pain is one of the symptoms of heart blockage

The possible reasons for heart blockage 

Though generally heart blockage develops over time but as strange as it might sound to you, some people are born with a heart blockage. Let’s find out some of the common causes of heart blockage: 

  • A heart attack may damage your heart’s electrical system
  • Heart conditions like coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, or heart failure
  • Lifestyle conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure
  • Aging or degeneration of the heart’s electrical system
  • Medications that slow heart’s electrical signals 

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Abhikriti Suyal