Prachi always believed that the higher the heart rate, the better it was for her body. She believed that this helped her burn more energy and stay fit. And while this is true for a short duration, in the longer run, this can mean a lot of trouble.
Your heart rate should be slower when you are resting. It is a sign of good health. At the same time, if your heart rate is too slow, then that can be a symptom of a condition known as bradycardia.
As a general rule, the heart beats around 60 to 100 times per minute when one is resting. However, if one is suffering from bradycardia, then this heart rate drops down to less than 60 beats per minute.
A low heart rate might not mean a lot of problems for some people. But it can be an important factor to pay attention to if you already have issues with the electrical system in your heart. It is always a good idea for an individual to seek the right treatment if he or she has a slower beating heart.
Prachi is very intrigued by this topic. And we are sure that you are too. So, let’s continue to learn more about low heart rates today.
The Basics of the Heart
Before we learn about low heart rate, let’s take a look at the basic working of the heart. You should know that electrical signals travel through the four chambers located in the heart. Out of these four chambers, two chambers are located on the top and are known as atrium. The other two chambers are located below and are known as ventricles.
The electrical signals prompt the chambers to beat in a steady rhythm. However, the pulses don’t always fire off as they should. This created abnormal heartbeats, which are also known as arrhythmias.
There are some conditions that can cause the heart to beat faster. There are also some conditions in which one might have a low heart rate. Low heart rate often occurs because the electrical problem slows down the time in between heartbeats.
It is possible for individuals to have a slower heartbeat than what is normal and still not experience any symptoms. In this condition, the individual will not be diagnosed. However, in the case of bradycardia, one will require treatment.
Symptoms of Low Heart Rate
The biggest concern with low heart rate is that the heart is not doing a good enough job of pumping blood to all the organs and tissues. In this case, the following symptoms can be experienced by the individual.
- Hard time concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
If you don’t experience any of these symptoms and you exercise daily, then this could point to how fit you are. People with a slower heart rate than normal heart rate can also be very healthy.
The Causes of Low Heart Rate
Some possible causes of why one might experience a low heart rate are:
- The chances of an individual suffering from bradycardia increase with age. This is also true for many other heart conditions. However, this can depend from person to person as their health plays a big role
- Low heart rate can show up after a heart attack or as a side effect of heart surgery
- Certain medications that are used to treat high blood pressure and other arrhythmias can lead to low heart rate
- It can be a congenital defect or a problem that you were born with
- It can be due to a thyroid disease, which is a result of hormonal imbalance in your body
- Obstructive sleep apnea, which refers to breathing pauses experienced many times throughout the night
When Should I See a Doctor?
Prachi has just checked her heart rate and she knows that she is not suffering from a low heart rate. But if you are or someone you know is, then that person should see a doctor if:
- Noticed mild to medium symptoms
- Has fainted, experienced chest pains, or had trouble breathing
- Feeling tiredness, trouble concentrating, or is breathing harder than usual
It can be a little hard for doctors to figure out bradycardia. This is because the condition is not present all the time. The heart can go in and out of slow rhythms frequently. However, the medical expert will be able to make a diagnosis if you are having bradycardia during an electrocardiogram, which is often known as EKG and is used to measure the heart’s electrical system.
If your heart rate does appear normal but you are still suffering from symptoms of bradycardia, then the doctor might ask you to wear a 24-hour monitor. One might also be asked to talk about their personal and family health histories along with any symptoms that they might be experiencing.
After the doctor decides that you have bradycardia, then the next step is to figure out the cause of the problem. On the basis of that, a treatment plan would be formed. For example, if an individual is suffering from bradycardia due to low thyroid function, then their treatment plan will involve treatment for low thyroid function to address the low heart rate issue.
In cases of no clear physical causes, the medical expert might start by changing the medications that the individual might be consuming. For example, beta-blockers are prescribed to relax the heart muscle. However, if this medication is giving someone a low heart rate, then the doctor will either lower the dosage or prescribe some other medication.
A pacemaker might be required if none of these approaches are working and the condition is very serious. In these cases, the individual’s brain and other organs might be at right. If one is given a pacemaker, then he or she should listen to the doctor’s instructions on how it operates and how to identify signs of the pacemaker not working.
Prachi has had a great time learning about low heart rates today. She is sure that if she ever suffers from this problem, then she will know what to do next. Do you feel the same way?