With our sedentary lifestyles, it seems like everyone would want to have a slower heart rate. After all, when a person is overweight, their heart has to work harder. And isn’t aerobic exercise intended to lower our heart rate?
Yes…but not too low.
If your heart rate is too low, you have what is known as bradycardia, a slower than normal heart rate. While you’d think saving your heart a few beats every minute for all the years of your life would maybe extend its lifespan, that’s not the case. Bradycardia can be a serious problem if the heart doesn’t pump enough oxygen-rich blood through the body.
Dr. Smith can test for bradycardia and has various treatment options.
What are the symptoms of bradycardia?
When you have bradycardia, your brain and other organs might not be getting enough oxygen. For some people, bradycardia doesn’t cause symptoms or complications, but for others, these are typical symptoms:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Near-fainting or fainting
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- Confusion or memory problems
- Easily tiring during physical activity
When a slower heart rate isn’t a problem
In most adults, the resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Some people have a slower resting heart rate. This can be true with healthy young adults and for trained athletes, especially those with aerobic training. In these cases, a heart rate under 60 isn’t considered a health problem.
What causes bradycardia?
Bradycardia can be caused by:
- Damage by heart disease or a heart attack
- Heart tissue damage due to aging
- Infection of heart tissue
- Congenital heart defect
- Complication of heart surgery
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Imbalance of chemicals in the blood
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Inflammatory disease
- Medications for high blood pressure and psychosis