Also known as: inherited rhythm disorders

What are channelopathies?

A channelopathy is a disease that is caused by a problem with an ion channel in the body. There are ion channels that transport minerals such as calcium, sodium, chloride, potassium and other ions throughout the body. When something goes wrong with an ion channel, it can cause problems for the nervous system, heart, lungs, muscles and various other body parts.

What causes channelopathies?

In some cases, channelopathies are passed along from parents to their children. Other times, they are the result of a genetic mutation of unknown causes.

What are the symptoms of channelopathies?

The symptoms of channelopathies can vary widely depending on what part of the body is affected. In the nervous system, it might result in muscle paralysis, muscle twitching or muscle stiffness.

People with channelopathies that affect the heart can experience seizures, an abnormal heart rhythm and other symptoms. Cardiac channelopathies can cause heart rhythm probelms or even death. These are just a few ways that channelopathies can impact a person.

What are channelopathies care options?

The treatment of channelopathies will vary based on the nature of the problem and the part of the body that is affected. In some cases, dietary changes and medication can help. In the case of a cardiac channelopathy that is causing an abnormal heart rhythm, an implantable pacemaker or defibrillator may be needed.

Reviewed by: Anthony F. Rossi, MD

This page was last updated on: July 10, 2020 10:06 AM

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