Bradycardia means that your heart rate is too slow. A heart rate of 60 to 100 beats a minute is normal for most people. If your heart beats slower than that, it could cause problems. For some people a slow heart rate is normal. Many healthy young people have a slow heart rate. For them, it is a sign of being fit. For others, it could be a sign of damage to the heart’s electrical system. The heart’s natural pacemaker may be faulty or electrical signals may not be getting through. This damage means the heart isn’t able to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body.


1. What are the common causes of bradycardia?

There are several common causes of bradycardia that include:

  • Heart damage related to aging
  • A congenital heart defect
  • Heart diseases such as coronary artery disease
  • Infections such as myocarditis or endocarditis
  • Medications for treating heart problems or high blood pressure
  • Conditions that slow or block electrical impulses from traveling through the heart. Hypothyroidism is one of these conditions. Another is an imbalance of chemicals in the blood (like calcium or potassium)
  • Repeated disruption of breathing during sleep (apnea)
  • Inflammatory diseases such as lupus or rheumatic fever

A natural pacemaker (the sinus node) in the right atrium of the heart controls your heart rhythm. It produces electrical impulses that travel across the atria. The impulses cause them to contract and pump blood to the ventricles. Other signals cause the ventricles to contract and pump blood. The right ventricle sends blood depleted of oxygen to the lungs. The left ventricle sends oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. Bradycardia is often caused by a problem with the heart’s sinus node. It may discharge electrical impulses at a slower rate, pause or fail to discharge. Blocking or slowing down of electrical signals can also cause bradycardia.


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