Is a Slow Heart Rate Dangerous?

is having a slow heart rate dangerous

What is bradycardia (slow heart rate)?

Having bradycardia (say “bray-dee-KAR-dee-uh”) implies that your heart beats extremely slowly. For most people, a heart rate of 60 to 100 beats a minute while at rest is thought about regular. If your heart beats less than 60 times a minute, it is slower than regular.

A slow heart rate can be typical and healthy. Or it could be a sign of an issue with the heart’s electrical system.

For some individuals, a slow heart rate does not cause any issues. It can be a sign of being extremely fit. Healthy young people and athletes typically have heart rates of less than 60 beats a minute.

In other individuals, bradycardia is a sign of a problem with the heart’s electrical system. It suggests that the heart’s natural pacemaker isn’t working right or that the electrical paths of the heart are interrupted. In severe forms of bradycardia, the heart beats so slowly that it does not pump adequate blood to date the body’s needs. This can cause symptoms and can be deadly.

Men and women age 65 and older are probably to develop a slow heart rate that needs treatment. As an individual ages, the electrical system of the heart frequently doesn’t function typically.

When is a slow heart rate dangerous?

Unusually slow heart rates are normally those below 60 beats a minute and can be either harmless or harmful. At certain times, however, such as during sleep, heart rate will be slow and still be regular. What counts as an abnormally slow heart beat for a single person may not be the same for another. For instance, a young, strong, healthy athlete might have a resting heart rate of 30-40 beats per minute, however might quickly increase his heart rate to 180 beats per minute with exercise. This is normal. Another individual may have a heart rate of 30-40 beats per minute while climbing the steps, but he feels weak and tired. This is unusual.

What causes slow heart rate?

Slow heart rate can be caused by:

  • Modifications in the heart that are the outcome of aging.
  • Diseases that harm the heart’s electrical system. These consist of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and infections such as endocarditis and myocarditis.
  • Conditions that can slow electrical impulses through the heart. Examples consist of having a low thyroid level (hypothyroidism) or an electrolyte imbalance, such as excessive potassium in the blood.
  • Some medicines for relieving heart problems or high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers, antiarrhythmics, and digoxin.


A really slow heart rate might cause you to:

  • Feel lightheaded or lightheaded.
  • Feel short of breath and discover it harder to work out.
  • Feel tired.
  • Have chest pain or a sensation that your heart is pounding or fluttering (palpitations).
  • Feel puzzled or have problem concentrating.
  • Faint, if a slow heart rate causes a drop in blood pressure.

Some individuals don’t have symptoms, or their symptoms are so moderate that they think they are simply part of aging.

You can learn how quick your heart is beating by taking your pulse. If your heartbeat is slow or irregular, speak to your doctor.

How is bradycardia diagnosed?

Your doctor may take your pulse to diagnose bradycardia. Your doctor may likewise do a physical exam, ask questions about your previous health, and do an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). An EKG determines the electrical signals that control heart rhythm.

Slow heart rate frequently comes and goes, so a conventional EKG done in the doctor’s office might not find it. An EKG can recognize bradycardia only if you are actually having it during the test.

You may have to use a portable (ambulatory) electrocardiogram. This light-weight device is likewise called a Holter screen or a heart occasion monitor. You use the screen for a day or more, and it records your heart rhythm while you go about your everyday regimen.

You might likewise have blood tests to find out if another issue is triggering your slow heart rate.

Treatment for slow heart rate (bradycardia)

How slow heart rate is dealt with depends on what is causing it. Treatment likewise depends on the symptoms. If bradycardia does not cause symptoms, it generally isn’t treated.

  • If damage to the heart’s electrical system causes your heart to beat too slowly, you will probably have to have a pacemaker. A pacemaker is a device placed under your skin that assists remedy the slow heart rate.
  • Individuals older than 65 are most likely to have a kind of bradycardia that needs a pacemaker.
  • If another medical problem, such as hypothyroidism or an electrolyte imbalance, is triggering a slow heart rate, treating that issue may cure the bradycardia.
  • If a medicine is triggering your heart to beat too gradually, your doctor may adjust the dose or prescribe a different medicine. If you can not stop taking that medicine, you might require a pacemaker.

The goal of treatment is to raise your heart rate so your body gets the blood it needs. If severe bradycardia isn’t dealt with, it can lead to severe issues. These may consist of fainting and injuries from passing out, along with seizures and even death.

Home remedy and lifestyle for slow heart rate

Bradycardia is frequently the outcome of another heart condition, so taking steps to live a heart-healthy way of life will typically improve your general health. The actions include:

  • Having a heart-healthy consuming plan that consists of a great deal of fruits, vegetables, entire grains, fish, and low-fat or nonfat milk foods.
  • Being active on most, if not all, days of the week. Your doctor can tell you what level of workout is safe for you.
  • Losing weight if you have to, and staying at a healthy weight.
  • Not smoking.
  • Handling other illness, such as hypertension or high cholesterol.

Get emergency help if you passed out or if you have symptoms of a heart attack or have severe shortness of breath. Call your doctor immediately if your heart rate is slower than normal, you feel like you may lose consciousness, or you observe enhanced shortness of breath.


Most people who get pacemakers lead regular, active lives. You will need to avoid things that have strong magnetic and electrical fields. These can keep your device from working right. However the majority of electronic devices and appliances are safe to utilize.

Your doctor will examine your pacemaker regularly. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms that might mean your device isn’t really working right, such as:

  • Your heartbeat is very fast or slow, avoiding, or fluttering.
  • You feel lightheaded, lightheaded, or like you may pass out.
  • You have shortness of breath that is new or getting worse.

Last modified: August 8, 2016


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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