bradycardia -- what's a too-low heart rate?

Posted by Solo Act @soloact, Nov 27, 2017

I wear a Fitbit Charge HR, which has a heart monitor that is pretty accurate (within a beat or two of what hospital instruments say) except for sudden spikes up or down. My heart rate is now in the high 40s at rest, has been as low as 38 while asleep, is usually in the 50s during the daytime but can get into normal range if I'm active. I can't get anyone at my primary care or cardiologist's office to give me an idea of what's so long that I should call them! I'm betting that below 40 is a concern, but all they've said is that heart rates lower when we're asleep. Duh! I know that. What I want to know is at what point should I seek their help if that happens.

Does anybody know?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Heart Rhythm Conditions Support Group.

My 89 year old husband was recently confirmed that he has Bradycardia. Has had arrhythmia for years - without noticeable problems. He also has dementia; CKD - Kidney stage 3; CVI - stage 5 or 6; plus on meds for Thyroid problem; enlarged prostate, gout, high blood pressure (I think that should be stopped???); anger and anxiety; pain; and B12 and D3.

He has shown signs of dementia for years but just recently diagnosed and a lot more tests to come.

At home I would take his blood pressure and it would be really low (kept records for family doctor) but at the doctor's office it would always give a perfect reading so the doctor was really happy. Then he started treatment at Mayo and both visits had him with low readings (hence the Bradycardia).

He also has fallen quite a few times - last two involving 911. Fortunately no falls recently!!!

Legs get small ulcers, which bleed for no reason and he is never aware of it happening. No knee jerk reactions.

I'm not sure how the Bradycardia will impact him or what to be watchful for. He mostly sits in his recliner watching movies. Only wants to eat sweets. I can get him to take a bite of things good for him but only a few bites, if that.
Long days and nights. (oh, he also has rapid eye motion disorder - which means he acts out dreams in his sleep and talks in his sleep lol).

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I have a very slow pulse caused by Sotalol. This is no problem as long as I am not feeling fatigued or have shortness of breath. My wife, a nurse for 45 years, asked my Cardiologist about my slow pulse. He told her as long as I wasn't having problems that he was not worried about it.
How do you feel? Do you suffer symptoms? I'd keep a log and would share it with my cardiologist.

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Hi, I too had a fitbit which I recently upgraded to a Samsung Health Watch 4 which does an actual interpretive EKG. I am on propanolol 20mg/2/day to suppress my rate which is in the 40's at rest. The problem is the watch algorithm won't read below 50 or over 100 bpm so I have to get my heart rate up a little to use it. All of this is well known by my care team who seem unconcerned about the low rate and they tell me when I ask the question you have, that I will know when there is a problem. I have not passed out although I do have dizzy spells especially upon rising and often feel lightheaded, none of which I think is problematic beyond my frequent AFIB episodes. I am seriously considering an ablation after reading "The AFIB cure" by Dr. John Day. Hope this is useful to you, but if not, read the book. Quite interesting.

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I was diagnosed with AFib in 2018 and had only one event per year UNTIL I received the Moderna vaccine after which I had many events which were long lasting . After a couple cardioversions and increased symptoms (Tachycardia) I had an Ablation (pulmonmary veins) in January 2022. Had one recurrence of Afib and had a cardioversion in February. Was in normal sinus rhythm for 4 months and in July began having shortness of breath accompanied by irregular heartbeat (but no tachycardia) Had that for the month of July and part of August ( until I had another cardioversion on 22 August. Diagnosis was Atrial Flutter and am now waiting to schedule an ablation for the right atrium.

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@kenv267

I just had ICM (implantable cardiac monitor, LINC implanted last Thursday due to erratic heart beat. Low as 37 at night and high up to 161. Doctor said anything in low 30's is cause for alarm, which is why he did the procedure. There is no diet that can reverse heart disease, I have an enlarged heart, can not be reversed with diet , per my doctor. He said to lose weight and exercise, would be bet thing for my heart.

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kenv267, I gotta share. This falls into the FWIW (For What It's Worth) category. After all, you are not me. You are unique.

At one point, at 5' 5" tall, I weighed 187.5 lbs! I now weigh 115 - 117. Not certain since I've not stepped on the scale for a few days. Usually weigh myself once or twice a year now.

My weight gain was from every female problem (PCOS, fibroid tumors and endometriosis), low energy due to serious anemia. Got those issues resolved and got a job in an automotive factory. Numerous injuries forced me to be sedentary. Thought I was eating properly but was eating too many carbs 20+ years ago. We didn't know then what we know now...

So, how did I lose 70 pounds despite being an old lady? I was steered to a book. Don't know if it's still in print. Check Amazon, eBay or Alibris. No dieting, no meetings, no public weigh ins, no calorie counting, no restrictions, no point system.

The title of the book? The Weigh Down by Gwen Shamblin. Changed my life!

Early on, all I had to do was step on my scale at home around the same time every day. And read the book. Get inspired! Recognize and embrace the message. I could wax prolix and reveal what changed my life but, again, you are you.

I will share that Gwen Shamblin used to compete in beauty pageants and, like the other contestants, she was obsessed with calories, her weight, etc. Other contestants were inducing regurgitation or using laxatives. She knew this was NOT healthy. She had her personal revelation and... I. Had. Mine!

I've lost the weight and kept it off for years and years now!

Wishing you the best and, yes, your doctor is right. Get moving!!!! In another thread I shared my journey re: exercise despite dozens of acute and cumulative injuries.

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