It has been found that a slower heart rate does not necessarily cause cardiac arrest in patients.
Bradycardia is a heartbeat that is slower than normal. The latest studies confirm that it does not lead to heart disease as was thought previously.
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A great number of people have a heart rate that is 40 to 50 beats per minute and they suffer from no outward symptoms. Their health is ideal and they don’t fall prey to heart problems.
Even those who have asymptomatic bradycardia are now being given reassurances that nothing is wrong with them.
“For a large majority of people with a heart rate in the 40s or 50s who have no symptoms, the prognosis is very good,” said Ajay Dharod, M.D., instructor in internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist and corresponding author of the study.
“Our results should be reassuring for those diagnosed with asymptomatic bradycardia.”
The normal heart rate per minute is 60 to 100 beats. This is in mature people in stationary conditions. With bradycardia, the beats sometimes go down all the way to 50. Some mild symptoms of the ailment range from dizziness to breathlessness to unconsciousness.
Also sufferers may encounter a little chest pain. These are obviously due to the the heart not pumping enough oxygen-rich blood to all the parts of the body. The hypothesis was that such a condition may cause CV disease.
6733 people were studied to confirm or disprove the former thesis. Males and females from 45 to 84 years of age were studied in the most stringent settings. They didn’t have any cardiac problems but were taking hypertension medicine. The sample was studied for a decade.
A heart rate of less than 50 beats per minute was not detrimental in any way as far as CV disease was concerned. This was so despite the ingestion of hypentensive medication. However, the mortality rates were still higher for those with bradycardia taking blood pressure drugs.
Thus the incidence of bradycardia may be somewhat problematic in those people who are taking beta blockers or calcium channel blockers. Since these medications slow the heart rate further, they have a retarding effect that may be harmful depending upon the circumstances.
Yet further research needs to be done to confirm these findings. Everything ought to be taken with a grain of salt since science is not a sacrosanct field.
“Bradycardia may be problematic in people who are taking medications that also slow their heart rate,” Dharod said. “Further research is needed to determine whether this association is causally linked to heart rate or to the use of these drugs.”
The study was published in the journal of JAMA Internal Medicine on Tuesday.