A person suffers from Bradycardia when some event disrupts the regular electrical impulses in the heart, that control the heart’s pumping action. The source of the disruption might include high blood pressure, a congenital heart defect, heart tissue damage from aging or a heart attack, a heart infection, an underactive thyroid gland, any inflammatory disease, excessive iron in the body’s organs or complications from a previous heart surgery. Sometimes the condition might arise from taking medications that disrupt electrical impulses.
There are warning signs that a person is suffering from Bradycardia, which should prompt that person to seek a doctor’s examination. A person might often feel dizzy, weak or chronically tired. Tiring out quickly during any type of physical activity is another potential sign of the condition. Shortness of breath and chest pains are also concerning, as well as trouble remembering things on a regular basis.
Some people are at an elevated risk of developing Bradycardia or a slow heart rate. Age is one of the biggest risk factors, since the older a person is the more likely he will develop heart problems. Anyone who smokes, has high blood pressure, has a high cholesterol count, drinks alcohol heavily, uses illegal narcotics or suffers from high levels of stress or anxiety is also more likely to develop Bradycardia.
Doctors have a variety of tests they can do to confirm a person suffers from Bradycardia, as well as determine how the condition is affecting that person’s health. An EKG helps measure the electrical impulses from your heart, helping confirm that a disruption has occurred. Sometimes a doctor will require a patient to wear a monitor home overnight so he can monitor the heart’s activity for an extended period of time. An exercise test allows a doctor to determine if a person’s heart rate rises normally during physical activity. Using a tilt table test a doctor can assess if the condition is causing fainting spells.
Once the condition has been properly examined, a doctor can move forward with several treatment options. If the tests uncovered another heart problem that is contributing to the Bradycardia, the doctor will take measures to address that condition. If any medications a patient takes is the cause of the low heart rate, the doctor will determine appropriate substitutes that will not affect the heart’s operation. Sometimes a pacemaker is necessary to keep the heart pumping at an appropriate rate.