A new study suggests that a slow heart rate – below 60 beat per minute – does not indicate or increase the risk of early death. In some individuals their heart rate is below 50 beats per minute which is known as bradycardia.
If the heart is beating slowly it may not be able to provide the body with a sufficient supply of blood which can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fainting, and chest pains.
Corresponding author Dr. Ajay Dharod, “For a large majority of people with a heart rate in the 40s or 50s who have no symptoms, the prognosis is very good. Our results should be reassuring for those diagnosed with asymptomatic bradycardia.”
The researchers analyzed data from over 6,700 people between the ages of 45 and 84. At the beginning of the study none of the participants had heart disease and the follow up period was for 10 years.
Those participants with heart rates below 50 beats per minute showed no signs of heart trouble and did not have an increased risk of heart disease compared to those with normal heart rates.
What was found was those participants who were on medications like beta blockers or calcium channel blockers did have an increased risk of death.
Dharod concluded, “Bradycardia may be problematic in people who are taking medications that also slow their heart rate. Further research is needed to determine whether this association is causally linked to heart rate or to the use of these drugs.”