What Is Bradycardia?

The human average heart rate is normally 60–80 beats per minute. Slow cardiac rhythm under 60 bpm is called bradycardia. This phenomenon cannot be ignored – it clearly suggests impaired cardiac and vascular function. How is bradycardia treated?


Recognizing bradycardia

In fact, bradycardia represents one of the “variants” of arrhythmia that is characterized by the decreased rate of heart contractions. This diagnosis may be normal only for those who professionally take sports; in other cases, bradycardia appears as a wake-up call: it indicates possible development of a pathology and requires immediate examination.

As for other symptoms of bradycardia, they include the following:

  • Near-fainting state
  • Dizziness
  • Unstable blood pressure
  • Persistent hypertension
  • Loss of energy, fatigue
  • Difficulty performing physical exertion
  • Inadequate blood circulation
  • Attention and concentration problems
  • Reduction in vision
  • Darkening of vision and seeing spots
  • Chest pain sensations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cold sweating
  • Confused thinking

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Sometimes, bradycardia has no other symptoms apart from the slow heart rate.

There are several types of bradycardia:

  • The one that can be detected at any time (the state and environment of a patient during examination do not matter)
  • The one that occurs in the setting of meningitis, fever, infectious diseases, hypothyroidism, and injuries, as well as after physical exertion
  • The one that occurs in patients with respiratory arrhythmia (children, teenagers, as well as subjects with increased tonicity of the autonomic nervous system)
  • The one that occurs due to disorders of internal organs, neurological disorders, pronounced hypothyroidism.


Causes of the disease

Why does bradycardia occur? This happens due to negative changes in the conducting system of the heart (or in its main sinus node) that prevent the electrical pulse from propagating properly.

Such conditions as myocarditis, ischemic heart disease, and coronary artery atherosclerosis may contribute to occurrence of the disease. Changes in the cardiac rhythm may be affected by hormonal balance, arterial blood pressure, as well as the autonomic nervous system and presence of infections in the body.

Quite often, bradycardia develops under the action of certain pharmacological agents or due to the toxic effect of drugs, as well as secondary to age-related changes, renal disorders, hypothyroidism, intoxications, etc.

Bradycardia can be established in children, and its onset is associated with the following:

  • Past infectious diseases
  • Improper diet
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Accelerated development of the body


What measures should be taken?

If you self-detect at least several signs of bradycardia (along with the slow heart rate), try to seek help from a cardiologist as soon as possible. The doctor will carefully review your medical history and conduct physical examination, measure your pulse, auscultate for heart sounds, and will accurately determine the presence of the disease.

For diagnosis purposes, the doctor may use such methods of disease detection as electrocardiography or heart ultrasound. After bradycardia was confirmed, it is important that the patient follows all the doctor’s recommendations regarding lifestyle and medication taking.

In some forms of bradycardia, usually, no special treatment is required. In the presence of serious forms of the disease, it is important, first of all, to establish their cause (particular disease) and set about eliminating it.

If bradycardia was caused by administration of a particular drug, it is important either to completely discontinue this drug or reduce its dose as much as possible.

Bradycardia needs to be actively treated, if the patient developed stenocardia, ventricular arrhythmia, or cardiac failure, and if he suffers from fainting and severe hypotension. The most severe complication of the disease may include sudden cardiac arrest threatening lethal outcome.

In order to prevent onset and development of such disease as bradycardia, you should remember the following rules:

  • Visit a cardiologist 1–2 times a year
  • Avoid stressful situations and overexertion
  • Give up the habit of smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Monitor arterial blood pressure
  • Keep track of your pulse rate (use a wrist pulse meter)
  • Control blood cholesterol and sugar levels
  • Do not pile on weight
  • Take exercises every day
  • Eat foods useful for the health of the heart and vessels


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