Slow heartbeat called bradycardia, is a disorder of the heart’s rhythm. Each day, a normal heart beats about 100,000 times, at a rate from 60 to 100 times a minute. Changes in heart rate caused by activity, diet, medications and age are normal and common.
A heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute (BPM) in adults is called bradycardia. This slow beat may depend on your age and physical condition.
- Physically active adults often have a resting heart rate slower than 60 BPM but it doesn’t cause problems and is normal for them.
- Your heart rate may fall below 60 BPM during deep sleep.
- Elderly people are more prone to problems with a slow heart rate.
The heartbeat is controlled by an electrical system that signals the heart muscle to contract, or “squeeze,” pumping blood to the rest of the body. Bradycardia happens when the system slows or blocks these signals.
Complications of bradycardia:
Severe, prolonged untreated bradycardia can cause:
- Heart failure
- Loss of consciousness, fainting
- Chest pain
- Low blood pressure or hypotension
- High blood pressure or hypertension
Treatment of Slow Heart Rhythms:
Heart medications used to treat other illnesses can cause bradycardia. In these cases the risks and benefits of continuing those medications must be thought about carefully.
Usually, unless the causes are temporary or there are medications that can be changed, the treatment for bradycardia that causes symptoms is a pacemaker.