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Bradycardia is a heart condition that affects the heart rate, causing it to be abnormally slow. The normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. When the heart rate falls below this range and is less than 60 beats per minute, it is known as bradycardia. While bradycardia may be asymptomatic in some individuals, in others, it can cause significant discomfort and even life-threatening complications. There are several types of bradycardias, including sinus bradycardia, which occurs when the heart's natural pacemaker, the sinoatrial node, sends electrical signals at a slower rate than normal. Other types of bradycardia can occur due to damage or disruption to the heart's electrical system, such as heart block, which occurs when the electrical signals are delayed or blocked as they travel from the atria to the ventricles.
- Fatigue or weakness
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Fainting or near-fainting spells
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity or exercise
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Confusion or memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sudden onset of weakness or fatigue
- Feeling like the heart is pounding, fluttering, or skipping beats
- Age: As we age, the heart's electrical system can become less efficient, leading to a slower heart rate.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers, can slow the heart rate as a side effect.
- Underlying heart conditions: Bradycardia can be a symptom of underlying heart conditions, such as heart block, sinus node dysfunction, or atrial fibrillation.
- Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland can cause a slower heart rate.
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This condition can cause disruptions in the normal breathing patterns during sleep, leading to a slower heart rate.
- Autonomic nervous system disorders: Certain disorders that affect the autonomic nervous system, which controls heart rate and blood pressure, can cause bradycardia.
- Infection: Certain infections, such as Lyme disease, can affect the heart's electrical system, causing bradycardia.
- Certain congenital heart defects: Some congenital heart defects can cause the heart to beat too slowly.
- Athletes: In some cases, athletes who are in excellent physical condition may have a slower resting heart rate due to their heart being able to pump more efficiently.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Can Bradycardia be prevented?
While some cases of bradycardia cannot be prevented, certain lifestyle changes and regular medical check-ups can help identify and manage the condition early on.
How long does it take to recover from surgery for Bradycardia?
Recovery time from surgery for bradycardia can vary depending on the type and extent of surgery, as well as the patient's overall health. Your healthcare provider can provide more information on what to expect during recovery.
Is surgery necessary for Bradycardia?
In some cases, surgery may be necessary for bradycardia, particularly when it is caused by an underlying heart condition that requires intervention.