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TOPIC: Do People With (Bradycardia) Slow Heart Rate Get the Same Wo

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March 18, 2012 8:41 AM
What is bradycardia?

Having bradycardia (say "bray-dee-KAR-dee-uh") means that your heart beats very slowly. For most people, a heart rate of 60 to 100 beats a minute while at rest is considered normal. If your heart beats less than 60 times a minute, your doctor may diagnose bradycardia.

A slow heart rate is sometimes normal and can be a sign of being very fit. Healthy young adults and athletes often have heart rates of less than 60 beats a minute.

In other people, bradycardia is a sign of a problem with the heart’s electrical system . It means that the heart's natural pacemaker is not working right or that the electrical pathways of the heart are disrupted. In severe forms of bradycardia, the heart beats so slowly that it does not pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. This can be life-threatening.

What causes bradycardia?

Bradycardia can be caused by:
Changes in the heart that are the result of aging.
Diseases that damage the heart's electrical system. These include coronary artery disease, heart attack, and infections such as endocarditis and myocarditis.
Conditions that can slow electrical impulses through the heart. Examples include having a low thyroid level (hypothyroidism) or an electrolyte imbalance, such as too much potassium in the blood.
Some medicines for treating heart problems or high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers, antiarrhythmics, and digoxin.

What are the symptoms?

A very slow heart rate may cause you to:
Feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Feel short of breath and find it harder to exercise.
Feel tired.
Have chest pain or a feeling that your heart is pounding or fluttering (palpitations).
Feel confused or have trouble concentrating.
Faint, if a slow heart rate causes a drop in blood pressure.

Some people don't have symptoms, or their symptoms are so mild that they think they are just part of getting older.

You can find out how fast your heart is beating by taking your pulse . If your heartbeat is slow or uneven, talk to your doctor.

How is bradycardia diagnosed?

Your doctor may be able to diagnose bradycardia by doing a physical exam, asking questions about your past health, and doing an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). An EKG measures the electrical signals that control heart rhythm, so it is the best test for bradycardia.

But bradycardia often comes and goes, so a standard EKG done in the doctor’s office may not find it. An EKG can identify bradycardia only if you are actually having it during the test.

You may need to use a portable (ambulatory) electrocardiogram. This lightweight device is also called a Holter monitor or a cardiac event monitor. You wear the monitor for a day or more, and it records your heart rhythm while you go about your daily routine.

You may also have blood tests to find out if another problem is causing your slow heart rate.

How is it treated?

How bradycardia is treated depends on what is causing it. Treatment also depends on the symptoms. If bradycardia does not cause symptoms, it usually is not treated.
If damage to the heart’s electrical system causes your heart to beat too slowly, you will probably need to have a pacemaker. A pacemaker is a device placed under your skin that helps correct the slow heart rate. People older than 65 are most likely to have a type of bradycardia that requires a pacemaker.
If another medical problem, such as hypothyroidism or an electrolyte imbalance, is causing a slow heart rate, treating that problem may cure the bradycardia.
If a medicine is causing your heart to beat too slowly, your doctor may adjust the dose or prescribe a different medicine. If you cannot stop taking that medicine, you may need a pacemaker.

The goal of treatment is to raise your heart rate so your body gets the blood it needs. If severe bradycardia is not treated, it can lead to serious problems. These may include fainting and injuries from fainting, as well as seizures or even death.

What can you do at home for bradycardia?

Bradycardia is often the result of another heart condition, so taking steps to improve your heart health will usually improve your overall health. The best steps you can take are to:
Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
Eat a low-fat, low-salt diet.
Get regular exercise. Your doctor can tell you what level of exercise is safe for you.
Quit smoking, if you smoke.

Get emergency help if you faint, have chest pains, or have severe shortness of breath. Call your doctor right away if your heart rate is slower than usual, you feel like you might pass out, or you notice increased shortness of breath.


People who get pacemakers need to be careful around strong magnetic or electrical fields, such as MRI machines or magnetic wands used at airports. If you get a pacemaker, your doctor will give you information about the type you have and what precautions to take.

For example, call your doctor right away if you have symptoms that could mean your device is not working right, such as:
Your heartbeat is very fast or slow, skipping, or fluttering.
You feel dizzy, lightheaded, or like you might faint.
You have shortness of breath that is new or getting worse.
March 18, 2012 8:58 AM
uh...what is the point of this post? All you did was cut and paste from wiki or something.
March 18, 2012 9:05 AM
sure did, but what I want to know is, if a person with slow heart rate get the same benefits as a person that don't. I seem to workout at a intense level and do not sweat much and do not seem to lose weight
March 18, 2012 9:10 AM
Take a look at your eating habits. Calories in < calories out = weight loss.
March 18, 2012 9:12 AM
I have this... and its never effected my weight loss.
March 18, 2012 9:19 AM
I have a low HR and a pacemaker from 3rd degree AV block. I am down 9 lbs since beginning of Feb so it hasn't effected me.
March 18, 2012 9:21 AM
Unless you have some cardiac illness causing your bradycardia or you are on some medication that is causing it your heart rate should still increase with exercise and you should still burn calories if the burn is more than your calories in. If meds or heart disease is causing the problem the exercise may be too much for you causing symptoms of low cardiac output. If that is the case need to discuss with your doctor.
March 18, 2012 9:22 AM
My eating habit is bad. I do not like to cook. I do eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I have a very hard time with counting calories, which I know that I must try to do better with in order to lose. I do not drink much. I do not eat much sweets. I do have high cholesterol, palpatation, vitamin D deficiency & low iron that I am working on as well.
March 18, 2012 9:25 AM
I am also not a smoker, nor do I do any drugs and never have
March 18, 2012 9:38 AM
Calories in vs calories out= loss or gain. I have bradycardia due to a blood clotting disorder gone wild, i am vitamin d and iron deficient as well. My heart rate increases with exercise, not as high as most but it seems to be enough. Eating less premade, processed food has made a huge difference in my loss. Fortunately i love to cook, and i love drinking water. i have a food scale, it is key especially for times when i am unable to workout much.
It was hard in the beginning, but once you build the good habits it's second nature. This site is all about lifestyle change and forming good habits, you know what you need to do.
March 18, 2012 9:49 AM
Useful info. I don't think people realise how bad bradycardia can make you feel or how dangerous it can be if it gets too bad. Although bradycardia is often benign, people should definitely get checked out to make sure it is nothing to worry about.

Although all your advice is good, my cardiologist told me that I should only reduce my intake of unhealthy fats (mainly trans fats) but not decrease my overall intake of fat (of course if someone is eating TOO MUCH fat they should reduce it!) About 30% of calories should be from fat as it is necessary for absorbing certain nutrients and for hormone production, including thyroid hormones. At least that's what he told me smile Perhaps that advice would be different if I had been diagnosed with coronary heart disease - I don't know.

I was also told to eat MORE salt because my low sodium levels were directly contributing to my bradycardia. This is NOT a general recommendation, just a point that not everyone will benefit from lowering their salt intake and a few with low sodium levels will actually feel worse for it. People with hypothyroidism often have lower sodium levels (like me). For most of the population though, your recommendation to reduce salt is fine and won't do any harm and in fact will help a lot of people. I just wanted to make people aware that reducing salt is not always the answer and if anyone feels worse for reducing their salt intake they should get their sodium level checked just to make sure, particularly if they have hypothyroidism.

I'm not disagreeing with your statements, just expanding a little for those of us with bradycardia who don't fit into the majority category. My body always has to be the awkward one!! happy
March 18, 2012 10:00 AM

sure did, but what I want to know is, if a person with slow heart rate get the same benefits as a person that don't. I seem to workout at a intense level and do not sweat much and do not seem to lose weight

My bradycardia doesn't stop my weight loss, but if my hypothyroidism isn't adequately treated (which is common in the UK!) that does affect my weight loss and makes my bradycardia worse, making me more tired so I do less and then it's a vicious circle. If your diet isn't good and you are not counting your calories then that is the most likely cause of your lack of weight loss. However, once you have this sorted out, if you are still having problems perhaps you need to see a doctor and nutritionist to see if the underlying cause of your bradycardia is what's affecting your weight loss rather than the bradycardia itself. Have you actually had your bradycardia checked out? Also if you are vit D and iron deficient you won't be using your thyroid hormones as effectively and will generally feel more tired which means you are likely to be doing less than normal throughout the day and therefore burning fewer calories than you think. This doesn't mean you have a thyroid problem, just that your body isn't as efficient at using the hormones to create energy in your cells, although if you still have hypothyroid-type symptoms after sorting out your diet and getting your vit D and iron stores up you should get a blood test to make sure. Getting your vit D levels and iron stores up should help though and you'll probably find that you can then start losing weight, especially if you can make sure you are eating a healthy diet.
Edited by CarolynB38 On March 18, 2012 10:02 AM
March 18, 2012 2:44 PM
I have Bradycardia, my heart rate is usually between 45 and 55. When I work out I can get my heart rate up to 170 depending on how much I push myself. It doesn't have a negative impact on my weightloss.
March 18, 2012 3:20 PM
All good advice. Need to make sure there is not a medical issue r/t your bradycardia and you should open your diary so people can see if there is any other help they can offer.
March 18, 2012 3:37 PM
My resting HR is 45 but I don't have any associated symptoms, and I have a max HR around 190 and have no problems with exercise, except the one abnormality that I stay aerobic into the 170's, but I'm not complaining about that one!
March 18, 2012 3:41 PM

sure did, but what I want to know is, if a person with slow heart rate get the same benefits as a person that don't. I seem to workout at a intense level and do not sweat much and do not seem to lose weight

I have medicine-induced bradycardia (from beta blockers). My HR never gets above 130 and my resting HR is between 45 and 50.

My workouts are just fine. The real key is to eat at a deficit. There are many benefits to exercise besides burning calories. I do believe that I burn much less than others who are the same size because of it.
March 18, 2012 3:44 PM
I have this and still get my heart rate up and my workouts in just fine. It's just harder to burn calories is all.
March 18, 2012 3:45 PM
I was just diagnosed at my annual wellness check. My resting is around 45 but my heart rate adjusts according to my level of activity. IE. Running / walking. Keep with your plan and you will get there.
March 19, 2012 12:45 PM
Thanks everyone.
June 13, 2012 8:05 AM
I have bradycardia and an underactive thyroid, even during intense exercise my heart rate rarely goes above 130 (nowhere near my maximum) but i've still managed to lose weight with time and effort. It is annoying to watch the numbers though, mine will very slowly rise during my workout, but as soon as i hit 130bpm it suddenly drops to about 60 and takes forever to get back up.

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