Bradycardia is a heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute among adults. Remember though that this usually depends on the age and physical condition of the individual.
Adults who are physical activity usually have a resting heart rate slower than 60 beats per minute (BPM) but it does not trigger any issues.
The heart rate might drop below 60 BPM during deep sleep. The elderly is more susceptible to issues with a slow heart rate.
Possible causes of bradycardia
- Issues with the sinoatrial (SA) node which is oftentimes called as the natural pacemaker of the heart.
- Issues in the conduction pathways of the heart
- Damage to the heart from a heart attack or disease
- Metabolic issues such as hypothyroidism
What are the indications of bradycardia?
If an individual has a heart rhythm that is too slow, it can cause inadequate flow of blood to the brain which causes the following symptoms:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fatigue or feeling weak
- Some individuals might feel short of breath
- Fainting or near-fainting spells
- Cardiac arrest can occur in extreme cases
Are there any complications?
If bradycardia is severe and prolonged, it can result to heart failure, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, syncope or chest pain.
The treatment for bradycardia is not usually required expect in cases where the individual has repeated or prolonged symptoms.
In most cases, bradycardia can be corrected with the placement of an artificial pacemaker that works by speeding up the heart rhythm as needed. There are also some medications that can slow down the heartbeat. In such cases, these medications must be properly adjusted.