Although it may seem desirable to have a slower pulse, if your heart rate gets too low, you can develop symptoms and complications. The condition, called bradyarrhythmia, refers to a heart rate that is consistently lower then 60 beats per minute (bpm). This situation can be the result of a problem with the heart's natural pacemaker. Certain medications can slow the heart, and some diseases can affect the heart's ability to send electrical signals to the various chambers, which can interfere with the heart muscle's ability to contract. If you notice the signs and symptoms, talk to your doctor because treatment options are available.
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According to St. Jude Medical, once in while, it may be normal to have a heart rate that is lower than 60 bpm. During sleep and deep relaxation, your heart rate may slow, and some athletes have a slower pulse as a result of their training. In other cases, a slow heart rate means that your body may not be getting the blood and oxygen it needs. This can lead to feeling dizzy and lightheaded and can even cause fainting spells.
If your bradyarrhythmia continues for long periods, you may begin to feel weak and have trouble catching your breath. However, the Heart Rhythm Society states that not all cases of bradyarrhythmia cause symptoms or require treatment. If your symptoms are severe enough that they interfere with daily activities, you may need medication or treatment of an underlying condition.
You need to seek medical care if your symptoms become severe. This may include palpitations or a sensation that your heart is pounding in your chest, chest pain, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure (hypotension) or severe difficulty breathing.
New York University Cardiovascular Institute states that severe symptoms may be a sign of a serious condition called heart block. This means that your heart is not able to transmit electrical impulses from the upper to lower chambers normally. Bradyarrhythmia also increases your risk of heart failure and cardiac arrest. In these cases, the American Heart Association states that a pacemaker can be implanted to help correct the problem.