Alternate Names : Bradycardia
A slow heartbeat is called bradycardia and is defined as a heart rate that is
slower than healthy levels. In most adults, the heart beats at least 60 times per
minute. Faster, age-related heart rates are considered healthy in children.
What is going on in the body?
When a person is at rest, the heart normally beats at a rate that
is within a fairly narrow range. This range is usually 60 to 100 beats per minute
in adults and slightly faster in children. With certain conditions, however, the
heart rate may decrease below a healthy range. When the heart beats lower
than the healthy range, the body may not get all the blood it needs to work
correctly. And this can affect a person's overall health and energy levels.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
There are many possible causes of a slow heartbeat, including:
which are irregular heartbeats caused by problems such as
and salt imbalances
certain medicines, such as atenolol and diltiazem, commonly used to treat
high blood pressure,
or digoxin, commonly used to treat congestive heart failure
or a low level of thyroid hormone in the body
serious head injuries
or brain damage, which can lead to a condition called
increased intracranial pressure
a serious condition in which there is poor blood circulation. If this is left
untreated, it can result in death
Regular exercise can also result in a slow heartbeat. This happens
because the exercise actually strengthens the heart to the point where it can
beat less often and still perform its job effectively. In this case, the slow heartbeat
is nothing to be concerned about.
Other causes are also possible. Sometimes no cause can be found.