Bradycardia is a condition characterized by decreased heart rate. At rest, the heart beat may normally vary between 60 and 100 beats per minute. A resting heart rate below 60 beats per minute is considered bradycardia. In healthy young adults and in athletes, a slow heart rate can be a sign of being fit and healthy. But otherwise, bradycardia is a sign of a problem with the heart’s electrical system.
Causes of bradycardia may include improper functioning of heart’s natural electrical signal generating pacemaker, interruption in the electrical pathways of the heart, antihypertensive medications, coronary artery disease, heart attack, decreased thyroid levels (hypothyroidism), electrolyte imbalances in the body, etc.
Bradycardia may cause fatigue, dizziness and fainting. Severe cases can be life-threatening as the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s requirements. Treatment options are drug therapy, treating underlying conditions, transcutaneous pacing, transvenous pacing and pacemaker.