Low pulse rate – Symptoms, causes, risk factors & complications

Low pulse rate

Bradycardia is a term which is used for slower than normal heart rate. When adults rest, then their hearts beat between 60 and 100 times in minute. This is a sign of good health. When it is too slow, then it can be a sign of barycardia. If you have bradycardia, then your heart beats less than 60 times in a minute. This can be a serious problem if your heart does not pump enough oxygen – rich blood to the body.

There are some cases when the bradycardia is not causing symptoms or some kind of complication. This can be a clue that you have a problem with your electrical system in your heart. You should see a doctor to find out why your heart is beating slowly and what the best treatment for your condition is. The implanted pacemaker can correct the bradycardia and it can help your heart to maintain an appropriate rate. Electrical signals travel through the four chambers of your heart, two of them are on the top and they are known as atria and below them there are two other chambers, called ventricles. These signals tend to beat in a steady rhythm.

But pulses not in all cases work as they should. This is creating abnormal heartbeats or also known as arrhythmias. There are some conditions which cause your heart to beat too fast or to flutter but with the bradycardia is opposite. This electrical problem slows down the time in between heartbeats. You can just have a slower than normal heart rate which does not cause any symptoms. The electrical activity can work fine just a little slower than it does in most people. Many people who have bradycadia may never notice symptoms or they do not need any treatment but this is not always the case.



If you suffer from bradycardia, then your brain and other organs might not have enough oxygen and this can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Easily tiring during physical activity
  • Confusion or memory problems
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Near – fainting or fainting (syncope)

For some people, the resting heart rate slower than 60 beats in a minute is normal, particularly for trained athletes and young adults. For these people, the bradycardia is not considered as a health problem. If you check your heart rate on regular basis and you have noticed that it is regularly below 60 beats per minute, then you should be aware of the symptoms of bradycardia and visit your doctor.


Here are some causes which can lead to bradycardia

  • Medications, including some drugs for other rhythm disorders, high blood pressure and psychosis
  • Inflammatory diseases, such as lupus or rheumatic fever
  • Drug abuse
  • You can have repeated disruption of breathing during sleep (obstructive sleep apnea)
  • Imbalance of chemicals in the blood, such as calcium or potassium
  • Underactive thyroid gland (also known as hypothyroidism)
  • A complication of heart surgery
  • Smoking
  • Infection of heart tissue (known as myocarditis)
  • Heart disorder present at birth (congenital heart defect)
  • You may have obstructive sleep apnea which is happening your breathing pauses many times throughout the night
  • Damage which has happened heart tissues from heart disease or heart attack
  • Heart tissue damage related to aging

Risk factors

Here are some factors which increase your risk of getting bradycardia

Age: Age is the biggest risk factor for bradycardia. Heart problems are often associated with bradycardia and they most commonly happen in older adults.

Risk factors related to heart disease: Often, bradycardia is associated with damage to heart tissue from some type of heart disease. This is a reason why your risk of heart disease can increase the risk of bradycardia. Medical treatment or lifestyle changes can decrease the risk of heart disease which is associated with the next factors:

  • Psychological stress or anxiety
  • Recreational drug use
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure


If the bradycardia causes symptoms, then there can be complications, such as

  • Sudden cardiac arrest or sudden death
  • Your heart is unable to pump enough blood (heart failure)
  • Frequent fainting spells


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