What is a low heart rate (bradycardia)?

A heartbeat is caused by the contraction of the heart muscle. This happens because the sinus node, a nerve node located in the right ventricle of the heart, gives an electrical pulse to the heart muscle.


A low resting heart rate

A heart rate that is too low is also called bradycardia and is a heart rhythm disorder. From a heart rate below 60 we speak of bradycardia. A normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. This frequency of beats ensures that enough oxygen-rich blood reaches the brain. The heart rate is not the same for everyone and depends on factors such as age, fitness and gender. For example, women have a higher resting heart rate than men, averaging 76 beats per minute. In men, more blood is pumped through the body per heartbeat. However, this distinction makes no difference when we speak of a heart rate that is too low in women and men, this is always if the heart rate is lower than 60.

De Rossmax X9 professional upper arm blood pressure monitor has the ability to detect bradycardia. If it is detected, it will display it with a symbol on the screen. If you suffer from bradycardia, it is recommended to measure with this blood pressure monitor.


A dangerously low heart rate

A dangerously low heart rate is a heart rate of less than 50 beats per minute. For example, athletes can experience a lower heart rate without being dangerous, as their heart pumps blood more efficiently and more slowly. Also during sleep, the heart rate will be lower because the body then needs less oxygen. A dangerously low heart rate usually does not occur until signs of disturbed consciousness or heart failure are noticeable. A dangerously low heart rate can be fatal.


Causes of a too low heart rate

There are several causes for bradycardia. Some of these are within the heart itself while others may be outside the heart. Heart-related causes include sinus bradycardia where the sinus node gives too slow impulses, atrioventricular block, inflammation of the heart and heart valve problems.

A low body temperature, an underactive thyroid, an increased pressure in the brain and side effects of certain medications are examples of causes that lie outside the heart.


What to do if your heart rate is too low?

A heart rate that is too low can often be recognized by symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath and fainting. It is recommended to consult a doctor when determining regularly recurring symptoms and if you measure a too low heart rate yourself and you have complaints. A cardiologist can do further tests such as a heart tracing, an exercise test and an echocardiogram. Medication is usually prescribed and if that does not work, the cardiologist can opt to fit a pacemaker. This imitates the impulses that the sinus node should give.

If you have no pronounced symptoms, treatment is often not necessary.

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