Bradycardia is a condition where a heart rate of fewer than 60 beats per minute is less than the normal heart rate. Generally, Adults have a resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute. People with a heart rate slower than 60 beats per minute are considered slower than normal. This condition can cause health problems. Especially in cases where the heart beats so slow that it is unable to pump blood and bring oxygen to the various organs of the body as well.
However, some people who experience bradycardia may not have any symptoms or tachycardia, such as athletes or people who are actively active often have lower heart rates. This is because regular exercise helps to strengthen heart function. As a result, it can pump blood more efficiently. The heart has to squeeze more slowly to respond to the body’s needs.
Symptoms of a slower heartbeat than normal
People who suffer from bradycardia or a slow heart rate. Will cause the blood to not be able to flow to the brain and various parts which resulted in various illnesses as follows:
- Not fully breathing.
- Chest pain or feeling of palpitations.
- Not able to exercise fully or feeling tired quickly when exercising.
- Experiencing the cardiac arrest, which occurs in serious cases.
- Fainting or fainting-like symptoms, This is because a slower heart rate results in low blood pressure.
- Fatigue or feeling tired and weak.
- Feeling confused Or having problems concentrating on something.
In addition, some patients may have no symptoms of bradycardia or only have mild symptoms. Athletes or people who exercise regularly have a slower heart rate. Which is not considered a health problem. For those who do not exercise or train the body like an athlete, but suffer from this condition, As well as having difficulty breathing or chest pain lasting several minutes. Should see a doctor to be examined and diagnosed immediately.
Causes of a slower heartbeat
Basically, there are four chambers in the heart, divided into the upper two chambers, or the Atria, and the lower two chambers, or Ventricles. The pacemaker, or the Sinus Node, is located in the right atrium. Serves to regulate the heart rate to be normal. It produces electricity that helps support the heart’s rhythm.
The electric current travels through the Atria to compress and transport blood to the ventricle. It goes through the AV Node cell group, which transmits electrical signals to the left and right ventricle of the cells. To stimulate compression and blood supply in the area.
The right ventricle carries less oxygenated blood to the lungs. The left ventricle carries oxygen-rich blood to different parts of the body. If the Sinus Node emits electricity more slowly than normal. Stops discharging electricity regularly or releasing electric current and unable to stimulate the heart to squeeze will cause the heart to slow down.
Bradycardia is caused by an abnormal electrical current that controls the heart rate. The reasons for such a malfunction of the electric current are as follows.
- Abnormal balance of minerals in the body such as potassium or calcium
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- High blood pressure
- Side effects of heart surgery
- Certain medications, such as other cardiac drugs, high blood pressure medications, or antipsychotic drugs
- Sick of an inflammatory disease such as lupus or rheumatic fever
- Heart tissue degeneration with increasing age of patients
- Heart tissue damaged by heart disease or coronary artery disease
Age and certain behaviors are also risk factors for a slower heart rate. The elderly are at risk of having heart health problems related to bradycardia. For those who suffer from high blood pressure, smoke, drink a lot of alcohol, substance abuse, stress disorder or anxiety, High risk of bradycardia. This is because these behaviors are factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, Which is also related to this condition. Changing lifestyle habits and taking medical treatments for health problems can help reduce the risk.
Diagnosing a slow heartbeat
Patients experiencing bradycardia should see their doctor for a diagnosis. Initially, the doctor will ask about the patient’s symptoms. Taking care and medical history of family members Including physical examination of the patient. In addition, your doctor may need additional tests to measure your heart rate to analyze symptoms associated with bradycardia and identify the cause that caused the condition. Testing for diagnosing bradycardia includes an electrocardiogram and other tests in the laboratory as follows.
Electrocardiogram (Electrocardiogram, ECG) The doctor uses electrodes, which have receptors to touch the patient’s chest and arms. To record the electrical signals running through the heart And diagnose the cause of bradycardia from the nature of the electrical signal. The doctor may ask the patient to use a portable electrocardiogram machine for home testing to look at your heart rate and help establish the relationship between a slower heart rate and an underlying medical condition.
The device is called the Holter. The patient can carry it in a pocket or attach it to a belt or on the shoulder band of clothing to record the heart rate 24 hours a day, which allows doctors to view the patient’s heartbeat for longer. The doctor will instruct the patient to use a Holter device to record an ECG in case symptoms appear and to record along with it. Patients can record their symptoms and the timing of their symptoms in the log.
The doctor will check the electrocardiogram while letting the patient perform other tests. To view the level of impact of activities affecting bradycardia. The test activities for the ECG are as follows:
- Tilt Table Test This test helps diagnose bradycardia that causes fainting. By letting the patient lie down on the bed and adjust the bed at different levels to see the occurrence of fainting.
- Exercise test The doctor will have the patient walk on a treadmill or bike to see if the patient’s heart rate increases with appropriate physical activity.
Other tests in the laboratory, the doctor may request blood tests for the patient to find out if the patient has a health problem causing bradycardia, such as an infection with low thyroid hormones or unbalanced mineral levels In addition, sleep tests were performed by some patients in cases where it was assumed that the cause of the bradycardia was sleep apnea.
Treating the heart beats more slowly than usual
Some people who suffer from bradycardia do not need treatment. Except those who have had long-term or recurring symptoms. Patients will receive different treatments depending on the severity of their symptoms and the cause of the slower heartbeat. The treatment is divided into 3 features: treatment of causes that cause bradycardia. Drug modification and inserting a defibrillator as follows
Treating the cause of the slow heartbeat people who suffer from bradycardia due to a number of health problems will need to be treated for such health problems, such as hypothyroidism who suffer from irregular bradycardia. Needing treatment for their illness The doctor will give thyroid hormone replacement to patients, such as levothyroxine, or Lyme disease patients will be treated with antibiotics to treat infections that cause bradycardia.
Modification of drugs Certain medications, including some heart health drugs, Can cause bradycardia. The doctor will examine the drugs that the patient is using to treat the disease. As well as recommend appropriate alternative treatment methods The doctor may change or reduce the dose of the drug the patient is using to treat a slow heartbeat than normal. However, if alternative treatments are not effective, and need to use drugs to treat illnesses. Doctors may treat patients with bradycardia by inserting a pacemaker.
Pacemaker: People who suffer from bradycardia may need a pacemaker. It is the size of a mobile phone and has a built-in battery. The doctor will place a pacemaker under the patient’s collarbone. The device’s wire is implanted through a vein to the heart. The electrodes at the far end of the wire are attached to the heart tissue. A defibrillator helps to capture the heart rate and release the right amount of electrical current to maintain the heartbeat at a proper rate. The defibrillator records information that doctors can use to check heart health.
Patients should see a doctor for regular appointments to monitor treatment and watch the pacemaker works. However, people wearing this device should avoid being near electromagnetic fields or where there is a strong electric wave. This may prevent the pacemaker from working normally.
Also, if there are symptoms indicating that the operation of the machine is malfunctioning should see a doctor immediately, such as a very fast or very slow heartbeat. The heart stops beating, palpitations, feeling dizzy like fainting or wheezing which has never been before or the condition worsens than it used to be.
Complications from a slow heartbeat
Patients who have already suffered from bradycardia fail to seek treatment. Risk of complications The complications of this disease vary. It depends on the problem area, the production of electricity to regulate the heart rate, and the type of heart tissue damaged. There may be complications in patients as follows.
- Frequent fainting, including hot flashes (Syncope) and loss of consciousness.
- Suffer from hypertension or hypotension
- Suffer from a heart attack This is because the heart is not sufficiently efficient in pumping blood.
- Experiencing sudden cardiac arrest or sudden death.
- Prevention of heart beating more than usual.
Bradycardia is a preventable health problem. By reducing the risk factors leading to coronary heart disease Which has methods to reduce the risk factors of disease as follows:
- Should be relaxed to avoid stress Including finding ways to cope with the stress that arises appropriately.
- You should see a doctor for regular physical examination and medical conditions.
- Should exercise regularly and eat foods that are healthy, such as low-fat foods, fruits, vegetables, or refined whole grains.
- Stop smoking, If you can’t stop, should see a doctor for advice.
- You should drink alcohol, but just right, however, some people with health problems must absolutely refrain from drinking alcohol For those who cannot limit their drinking amount Should see your doctor for advice and guidelines on how to stop drinking.
- Do not use drugs of any kind.
- Should maintain body weight within the standard Including losing weight in case of excessive body weight Due to being overweight, the risk of cardiovascular disease is high.
- Behavior that causes high blood pressure and high cholesterol should be adjusted. Including taking drugs to treat such diseases to control the level of blood pressure and cholesterol in the blood.
People with coronary artery disease can reduce their risk of developing bradycardia or other arrhythmias. By strictly following the treatment plan and taking prescription medications Also see a doctor for advice in the event of worsening of the illness or the occurrence of other medical conditions.