Features April 2017 Issue

Is a Slow Heart Rate as Big a Risk to Your Health as a Fast One?

Problems with the SA node (circled), the heart’s natural pacemaker, can cause the heart to beat more slowly—a condition known as bradycardia.

Is a Slow Heart Rate as Big a Risk to Your Health as a Fast One?

A slow heart rate, known as bradycardia, can lead to fainting and other complications. But without symptoms, it may not need treatment.

You know that a very fast heart rate (tachycardia) can cause numerous symptoms, including fainting. In some cases, it leads to cardiac arrest. But what if your heart rate is slower than normal, a condition called bradycardia? It’s more common among older adults, and it carries its own set of symptoms of possible complications. For many people, a slow heart rate poses no risk.

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