What to Know About Bradycardia

As we age, our bodies naturally start to change. This can include our hearts, which may develop conditions like bradycardia or a slow heart rate. While a slow heart rhythm might not sound concerning, it can sometimes lead to alarming symptoms and even pose severe health risks.

What Is Bradycardia?

Are you wondering “What is bradycardia?” Bradycardia is a condition in which the heart’s rhythm is too slow. While a normal resting heart rate for adults typically falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm), people with bradycardia have a heart rate that consistently falls below 60 bpm. It’s important to note that bradycardia doesn’t always cause symptoms and some people (like athletes) may naturally have a slower heart rate without any underlying health problems. However, when bradycardia does cause symptoms they can include:

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty concentrating 

Potential Underlying Causes of Bradycardia

Several factors can contribute to bradycardia. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Age-related changes – As we age, the electrical signals in our hearts can weaken leading to a slower heart rate.
  • Heart disease – Coronary artery disease, heart attack or heart failure can all damage the heart muscle and disrupt its electrical signals. 
  • Thyroid problems – An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can slow down many bodily functions including heart rate.
  • Electrolyte imbalances – Low levels of potassium, magnesium or calcium can interfere with the heart’s electrical signals.
  • Medications – Certain medications can slow down the heart rate as a side effect.

How to Treat Bradycardia

If you’re experiencing these symptoms you might be wondering how to treat bradycardia. Those who experience symptoms of bradycardia should seek medical attention from a qualified cardiologist. At AMS Cardiology, our team of experienced heart specialists can diagnose the cause of your bradycardia and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.

Treatment for bradycardia depends on the underlying cause and the severity of your symptoms. Here are some common treatment options:

  • Medications – Certain medications can help stimulate the heart to beat faster.
  • Pacemaker – A pacemaker is a device implanted in the chest that helps regulate the heart’s electrical activity by sending electrical impulses to the heart.

Living With Bradycardia

Many people with bradycardia can live long and healthy lives with proper medical management. Here are some lifestyle changes that your doctor may recommend:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight – Excessive weight can put additional strain on your heart.
  • Regular exercise – Aim for moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.
  • Managing stress – Chronic stress can contribute to heart problems. 
  • Following a healthy diet – Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

AMS Cardiology – Your Partner in Heart Health

At AMS Cardiology, we understand the unique concerns older adults have regarding their heart health. Our team of board-certified cardiologists is dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate care for all types of heart conditions including bradycardia.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of bradycardia or have any concerns about your heart health, schedule an appointment with a local cardiologist from AMS Cardiology today. We can help you understand your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan to keep your heart healthy and strong.

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