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Bradycardia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Bradycardia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

A small region in the right atrium (right upper chamber) of the heart, called the sinus node, initiates an electrical impulse which is the source of the typical heartbeat. The lower chambers (ventricles) are where ventricular tachycardia starts and it is extremely rapid. Ventricular tachycardia may not be problematic if it lasts only a few seconds. However, persistent ventricular tachycardia might drop blood pressure, which can cause syncope or fainting and dizziness. Additionally, ventricular tachycardia can cause cardiac arrest and potentially fatal arrhythmia ventricular fibrillation.


Bradycardia is thought to be rather frequent in various populations. Many physically active persons who have resting heart rates under 60 BPM without any adverse consequences may experience bradycardia regularly. During deep sleep, your heart rate may potentially drop below 60 BPM. Bradycardia is also more common in older people.


A lot of people may not face any issues with this condition. However, it can be a sign that something is wrong with your heart's electrical system. You should visit a doctor so they can determine why your heart is beating slowly and whether you need therapy.


Causes of Bradycardia:


Bradycardia is frequently linked to cardiac illness of some kind that has damaged the heart tissue. Bradycardia can become more likely for any reason that raises the risk of heart issues. 


Heart disease risk factors include:


  • Old age
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol
  • Consumption of illegal drugs
  • Anxiety and stress


Medical intervention or healthy lifestyle modifications may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Several different cardiac diseases and lifestyle factors can induce bradycardia. Bradycardia is brought on by damage to heart tissue if heart disease is the source. The risk of bradycardia is impacted by the same factors that raise the risk of heart disease. The likelihood of experiencing bradycardia rises with age, as it does with the majority of cardiac disorders. The reason for the development of this condition can vary greatly from one individual to the next. It can be developed after a heart attack. This condition could even be a side effect of heart surgery.


The following can be the causes of bradycardia:


  • Experiencing difficulties with the heart's natural pacemaker, the sinoatrial (SA) node
  • Issues in the heart's conduction pathways that hinder the movement of electrical impulses from the atria to the ventricles
  • Metabolic conditions like hypothyroidism or low levels of thyroid hormone
  • Heart damage brought on by heart disease or a heart attack
  • Certain heart medicines can also have bradycardia as a side effect
  • Your heart rate might be impacted by electrolyte shortages, which occur when you don't obtain enough of several electrolytes including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Bradycardia may be brought on by an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa.
  • Endocarditis, myocarditis, or pericarditis are all terms used to describe inflammation of the heart's pericardial sac, which contains and protects the heart.
  • If the germs that most commonly cause strep throat infections aren't treated very away, they can potentially harm your heart, particularly your heart valves.


Knowing how the heart generally beats may be useful in understanding the reasons for bradycardia. Two upper chambers called the atria and two lower chambers called the ventricles make up the normal four chambers of the heart. The sinus node is a collection of cells found in the right atrium, the upper right chamber of the heart. This sinus node is the natural pacemaker of the heart. This generates the signal for each heartbeat. The inhibiting or slowing down of these signals results in bradycardia.


Symptoms of Bradycardia:


If your heart rate is extremely slow, your body's organs and tissues may not be receiving enough oxygen-rich blood. The efficiency with which your body performs its typical processes and functions may be impacted by this.


Many individuals with bradycardia have no symptoms at all. This is especially true for those people who are extremely physically active since they have more efficiently working hearts. People whose hearts can't or won't accommodate typically experience the following symptoms:


  • Feeling lightheaded or nauseous.
  • Fainting spells or a sudden collapse.
  • Breathlessness, especially after activity.
  • Feeling very exhausted.
  • Palpitations are a type of chest discomfort, beating, or fluttering sensation.
  • confused or are having difficulty focusing


Consult a doctor if you experience symptoms that are typical with bradycardia. They can assist in identifying potential causes of your symptoms.


Treatment of Bradycardia:


The root cause and the symptoms determine the course of treatment. There is no need for therapy if the bradycardia is not causing any symptoms unless the root cause of the bradycardia requires treatment.


You could require a pacemaker if electrical system damage to the heart causes your heart to beat too slowly. Under-the-skin pacemakers assist in raising the heart rate when it is too low. A pacemaker user can enjoy a typical, busy life, but it also depends on the underlying problem.


Treating the underlying condition that is causing the low heart rate. For example, treatment of hypothyroidism or an electrolyte imbalance will frequently reverse the bradycardia resulting from it.

Dr. Mahim Saran
Cardiac Care
Meet The Doctor
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