Bradycardia: Symptoms, Causes

Reviewed by Dr. Hasan Feroz, MD

Bradycardia is a condition where your heart rate is too low. What is considered as bradycardia is depending upon your physical condition and your age. Adults and old age peoples often get too slow heart rate.

Normally, 60 to 100 beats per minute is considered a normal heart rate. If the heart rate falls below 60 beats per minute, it is considered as bradycardia and above 100 beats per minute is called tachycardia.

In athletes, or highly physically active peoples have a low heart rate which is common when you sleep your heart rate may go below 60 beats per minute which is also normal. These are the few exceptions of bradycardia.

Symptoms of Bradycardia

In bradycardia, our heart rate is slow down which causes less oxygen supply to the brain and other parts of the body resulting in:

Fainting

Dizziness

Vertigo

Headache

Fatigue

Tiredness

Chest Pain

Causes of Bradycardia

Bradycardia can be caused by several reasons. These are as follows

Damage to heart tissues due to old age or disease

Heart attack

Problems in sinus node

Inflammation of the heart

Infections of the heart (myocarditis)

Imbalance of potassium and calcium

Certain medications of heart like beta-blockers

Risk Factors

patients with older age are more prone to getting bradycardia. Heart problems are more common in people who are in their old age.

Risk factors of bradycardia is related to heart tissues damage cause b certain disease or complications in the heart.It may be associated with certain factors which are:

Drug use

Alcohol intake in the large amount

Smoking

Recreational drug use

High blood pressure

Diagnosis of Bradycardia

It is little bit difficult for the doctors to conclude the bradycardia because bradycardia is not always present. It fluctuates as sometimes the heart rate is normal and sometimes it slows down.

The best way to diagnose bradycardia is ECG where your doctor may be able to monitor the electrical system of the heart. The second approach to diagnose bradycardia is to put the patient on holter monitor for 24 hours where your heart’s electrical activity is monitored for a whole day. If there is a fluctuation or tachycardia, all will be in the holter.

Instead of this, your doctor may closely monitor you and ask for medicines taking for high blood pressure. Bradycardia is also caused by infection of the heart, low thyroid levels. All these things will be checked by your doctor to confirm the diagnosis of bradycardia.

Treatment of Bradycardia

It is very essential to know the actual cause of bradycardia and on the basis of that cause treatment is started with certain medicines and pacemakers. Some people take high blood pressure medicines which are known as beta-blockers, it reduces the heartbeat and sometime cause bradycardia. Dose adjustment of beta-blockers may be required to regulate the heartbeat.

Borderline or occasional slow heart rate have not required any treatment. it is settled over time. In rare conditions, if the problem remains present, your cardiologist puts a small device in the chest called a pacemaker that regulates the heartbeat.

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