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Bradycardia is a slow or irregular heart rhythm, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute. At this rate, the heart is not able to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to your body during normal activity or exercise. As a result, you may feel dizzy or have chronic lack of energy, shortness of breath, or even fainting spells.
Bradycardia can occur for several reasons. Common causes of bradycardia include:
When your heart beats too slowly you may experience various symptoms. These symptoms including dizziness, fainting, chronic lack of energy, and shortness of breath, help your doctor access the severity of your heart condition and determine the appropriate treatment for you.
Your risk of developing an abnormally slow heart rate (bradycardia) is greater if you:
The treatment strategy for bradycardia is dependent on what is causing the slower than normal heart rate as well as the patient’s symptoms. If another medical problem, such as hypothyroidism, is causing a slow heart rate, treating it may indirectly affect bradycardia.
Treating these problems with new medicines, or adjusting the doses of the medicines you are currently taking, may restore a normal heartbeat.
If the damage within the heart’s electrical system is causing a slow heart rate, you may be eligible for an implantable heart device called a pacemaker.
Pacemakers are small devices that are implanted under the skin, most often below your collarbone on the left or right side of your chest, to help restore the heart’s rhythm.
By sending tiny electrical signals to the heart to increase the heart rate, a pacemaker can relieve the symptoms of bradycardia.