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Bradycardia: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Bradycardia: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Bradycardia is slow heart rate. You suffer from this condition when your heart beats lower than the normal rate, or less than 60 beats per minute.

The causes of this condition vary from person to person and their physical condition. Elderly people are at higher risk of developing this condition.

Generally, your heart beats between 60 to 100 beats per minute which is considered normal. Physically active individuals like athletes may have a resting heart rate slower than 60 beats per minute.

You may not experience any symptoms of bradycardia, but you may feel the following:

  • Heart palpitations/fluttering
  • Dizziness
  • Syncope/passing out
  • Lack of energy
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Feeling short of breath

Potential causes of bradycardia are as follows:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea – Breathing issues during sleep
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Stroke
  • Inflammatory disease
  • Myocarditis – an infection of heart tissue
  • Atrioventricular (AV) node damage
  • High pressure inside the skull (intracranial pressure)
  • Heart attack
  • Imbalance of chemicals in the blood
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Drugs used to treat certain heart rhythm disorders, hypertension, and psychosis
  • Congestive cardiomyopathy
  • Severe hypothermia (cold) or hypoxia (not enough oxygen in the blood)
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Hypothyroidism
  • A complication of heart surgery
  • Heart tissue damage due to heart attack or any heart disease
  • Congenital heart defect – Heart condition present at birth
  • Heart tissue damage related to ageing

If left untreated, bradycardia can cause:

  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Heart damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Psychological stress
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Renal insufficiency

bradycardia

Diagnosing Bradycardia

Whenever you experience the symptoms of bradycardia, ensure you visit the doctor’s clinic immediately and get medical help.

Sometimes, your doctor may suggest an electrocardiogram (ECG test). Your doctor may also suggest wearing an ECG monitor at home that will record your heartbeats on a regular basis. These include:

  • Implantable monitor: A small event monitor is inserted under your skin and worn for several years to record your heart rhythms.
  • Holter: A portable ECG is used for one to seven days.
  • Event monitor: A portable ECG for one or two months, but it is only triggered when your heart beats become abnormal or when you manually activate it.

Treatment

Your treatment depends on your health condition and the severity of bradycardia.

It is essential to get immediate treatment or medical attention when your slow heart rate causes serious health problems or when a heart disease slows your heart.

As a treatment, your doctor may insert an artificial pacemaker – an electrical device into your heart to promote regular heartbeats.

Depending on your cause, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:

  • Monitoring heart rate or blood pressure frequently
  • Changing heart medications
  • Medication to treat thyroid or other metabolic disorders
  • Lifestyle changes such as eating a low-fat diet, doing more exercise, or quitting smoking

Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies

Make these following lifestyle changes to prevent the symptoms of bradycardia:

  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control: Ensure you are using medicines prescribed by your doctor regularly to manage your high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Follow the home remedies and lifestyle changes your doctor must have suggested for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking is bad for your health. It can cause a great amount of damage to your heart, lungs, and other parts of your body. Ensure you limit smoking or avoid it completely.
  • Follow a healthy diet and regular workout: A healthy diet and regular workout keep your body fit. Ensure you avoid unhealthy and fatty food items and include fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  • Maintain your body weight: It is essential that you maintain your body weight and regular workout helps you the best. Being overweight increases your risk of developing several health conditions including heart conditions.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption: Alcohol is equally bad for your health like smoking. Limit or avoid drinking alcohol completely to prevent the risks of developing deadly health conditions.
  • Manage stress: One of the most important things that you must follow strictly is to manage stress. Stress can cause several health conditions. Therefore, it is essential that you use stress management techniques to manage stress.
  • Regular checkups: Ensure you meet your doctor regularly for physical examination and report any signs or symptoms of bradycardia.

Here are a few home remedies that may help manage your healthy heart rate and prevent bradycardia:

L-Carnitine for bradycardia

Doctors believe consuming 2,000 milligrams of L-carnitine daily can be beneficial for your health. According to a study conducted by the Julia Parrish Diabetes Research Institute at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, USA, L-carnitine supplements showed an increase in heart fatty acid metabolism enough to resolve bradycardia in diabetic rats.

Try eating the following L-carnitine-rich food items to get this amino acid:

  • Wild-caught cod
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Whole milk

However, L-carnitine is not recommended for you if you have hypothyroidism, kidney failure, or seizures. Also, it is not recommended for you if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Include healthy food items in your diet

According to the American Heart Association, a change in your diet can improve your heart function and fight cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 rich food items are said to be proven to lower bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 0.5 to 1 gram of omega-3 daily from fresh fish or other omega-3 rich food items.

Try eating these omega-3 rich food items:

  • Anchovies
  • Chia seeds
  • Natto
  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Walnuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sardines
  • Herring

Magnesium

Doctors recommend approximately 300-400 milligrams of magnesium daily to lower insomnia symptoms, combat anxiety, improve sleep efficiency, relieve muscle aches and spasms. According to the report published in the journal Nutrients, a magnesium deficiency is linked to heart failure, atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, diabetes, and hypertension.

Coenzyme 10 (CoQ10) for bradycardia

Doctors recommend at least 200 to 400 milligrams of a high-quality CoQ10 supplement daily. There are two types of CoQ10 – ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Ubiquinol is an active antioxidant form which may help with better results.

As per the Cleveland Heart Lab, daily CoQ10 supplementation may lower blood pressure, reduce the risk for repeat heart attacks, and may lower levels of certain inflammatory biomarkers significantly that may increase the risk of heart diseases.

Add these food items rich in CoQ10 in your diet to maintain your health and prevent heart-related problems:

  • Oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Strawberries
  • Free-range chicken
  • Sesame seeds
  • Broccoli
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Cage-free eggs
  • Cauliflower
  • Grass-fed beef

Learn more about heart arrhythmias, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate)/https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aa107571/Accessed on 03/07/2020

Bradycardia/https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/bradycardia/Accessed on 03/07/2020

Bradycardia/https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/conditions_treatments/conditions/bradycardia.html/Accessed on 03/07/2020

Bradycardia: Slow Heart Rate/https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/arrhythmia/about-arrhythmia/bradycardia–slow-heart-rate#:~:text=Bradycardia%20is%20a%20heart%20rate,But%20there%20are%20exceptions./Accessed on 03/07/2020

Bradycardia/https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bradycardia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355474/Accessed on 03/07/2020

Bradycardia/https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17841-bradycardia/Accessed on 03/07/2020

CoQ10: What are the Heart Health Benefits?/https://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog/horizons-coq10-what-are-the-heart-health-benefits/Accessed on 03/07/2020

Using omega-3 fatty acids in the practice of clinical lipidology†/https://www.lipidjournal.com/article/S1933-2874(11)00726-4/fulltext/Accessed on 03/07/2020

Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586582/Accessed on 03/07/2020

The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations/https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/aha-diet-and-lifestyle-recommendations#.WrqyDGaZMQ8/Accessed on 03/07/2020

Diabetes-induced Bradycardia Is an Intrinsic Metabolic Defect Reversed by Carnitine/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17618959/Accessed on 03/07/2020

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Medically reviewed by Ruby Ezekiel
Written by Nikita Bhalla
Updated 5 days ago
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