The human body would be nothing without the heart – quite literally. The heart muscle is responsible for circulating blood throughout the entire body. This is all possible because of the pumping motion the heart makes. Sometimes, the heart does not function properly and it strays away from its normal 60 to 100 beats per minute. When the heart cannot maintain this normal rate, the conditions associated are known as bradycardia and tachycardia. These two conditions are life-threatening. But, what are bradycardia and tachycardia and what are their symptoms? Let’s take a look. 

What is Bradycardia?

Bradycardia is a condition where the heart beats fewer than 60 times per minute. When a heartbeat is slowed this excessively, oxygen-rich blood is unable to be pumped throughout the rest of the body. Since the body needs this blood circulation, bradycardia can be life-threatening. An unusually slow heart rate can deprive the brain and other organs of oxygen, which can lead to a number of symptoms. These symptoms include


  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting
  • Confusion or memory difficulties
  • Quickly tiring during physical activity


Bradycardia most often affects elderly people, but it does affect a small number of children and young people too. This condition occurs when the central nervous system does not send the proper signals to the heart to beat due to damage or when the heart’s natural pacemaker is damaged. 


What is Tachycardia?

On the other hand, tachycardia is a condition in which the heart beats more than 100 times per minute. In some cases, it’s normal for your heart to beat faster than usual while you’re exercising or when you’re stressed. However, with tachycardia, the cause of an abnormally fast heartbeat is unrelated to usual activity or stress. Similar to bradycardia, tachycardia restricts the normal flow of blood to the other parts of the body, which can be life-threatening. This can cause a wide range of symptoms, however, some people with tachycardia do not experience any noticeable symptoms. The most common symptoms associated with tachycardia include:


  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain (angina) or tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue


Treatment Options For Bradycardia and Tachycardia

Now that you are no longer wondering “what are bradycardia and tachycardia,” you can move on to find the right treatment options for these two conditions. AMS Cardiology is home to the leading cardiologists for bradycardia and tachycardia near Plymouth Meeting. Our team of doctors at AMS Cardiology can provide you with the most effective treatment plan for your bradycardia or tachycardia, whether it involves pacemakers, medications, or procedures. Time is of the essence when a patient is diagnosed with either of these two conditions, as the risks can become serious when left untreated. AMS Cardiology is one of the most well-respected groups in the Philadelphia region due to our state-of-the-art cardiovascular care and patient satisfaction. If you would like to learn more about AMS Cardiology and our treatment options, please contact us here