7 Symptoms of Bradycardia

Bradycardia gets its name from two Greek words, bradys and kardia, that mean “slow heart.” It is medically defined as an unusually slow heart rate. The average heart beats 60 to 100 times a minute, but a person with this condition has less than 60 beats per minute. Some very healthy athletes who do a lot of training may have heart rates below 60 beats due to their unusually strong heart muscles, but this does not count as bradycardia. The condition occurs when some sort of muscular, metabolic, nervous system, or endocrine issue causes the heart to beat very slowly. It is categorized as bradycardias of the sinoatrial node or atrioventricular node depending on which node of the heart is not regulating heart beat properly.

Symptoms of bradycardia are generally signs that a person is not getting enough oxygen rich blood throughout their body. If left untreated, a person can end up dealing with potentially fatal cardiac arrest or heart failure. Treatment will depend on a person’s symptoms. Some people may not need any treatment while others may need a pacemaker installation and oxygen supplementation. Since bradycardia requires prompt treatment, you should visit your doctor if you notice these signs of bradycardia.

1. Near-fainting

This condition is extremely common among people with bradycardia. It occurs because the brain is not getting quite enough blood flow. Called syncope in the medical community, this symptom is a brief loss of consciousness or muscular strength and coordination. A person who experiences it may suddenly feel unable to stand or feel mentally “fuzzy” even if they do not completely lose consciousness or collapse. Before the near-fainting episode occurs, a person might have pale skin, cold flashes, sweaty skin, blurred vision, a hot flash, nausea, or vomiting. In some people, the syncope is accompanied by twitching muscles, especially in the limbs.

People with bradycardia often find that they feel completely fine,before the syncope suddenly occurs. It is especially common when a person is standing up suddenly. Patients who are older or female are more likely to have this symptom. People frequently find that the symptom will go away without progressing to an actual faint if they sit down, lay with their legs elevated, squeeze their fingers into a fist, or clench the thighs. All of these methods of management work because they force more blood to go to the brain. After taking measures to rest quietly, near-fainting generally goes away within 10 to 15 minutes.