Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it dangerous for your heart rate to drop?"
I'm a late middle-aged guy, and I've been exercising pretty regularly for about 10 years. Recently, I've noticed that my average resting heart rate has dropped prtty dramatically from 65 beats per minute to about 53. Is this a danger?
Low heart rate, or bradycardia, is condition that requires attention. If you are worried regarding this condition I would encourage you to talk to your primary doctor. In addition, a specialist such as a cardiologist can be of help. A low or slow heart rate is defined as a heart rate less than 60 beats per minutes. However, many normal and healthy people have a low heart rate. In fact, many very athletic people like marathon runners have very low heart rates. The reason is that the heart's job is to pump blood. If somebody has a strong heart that pumps a lot with each beat, then it doesn't have to pump blood as often so you get a slower heart rate. But, there are sometimes when the slow heart rate can be a problem. Normally we know this because people have symptoms. Classic symptoms would be feeling lightheaded, dizzy or as if you are going to pass out. Shortness of breath or palpitations can also occur. Therefore, its hard to know if your slow heart rate is normal or a problem. Your doctor can talk to you and get more information. In general, a heart rate in the 50s is not often a problem--but see your doctor. Many medicines and other diseases can cause this. Your doctor can look at your heart rate and even study it over a 24hr period at home (with a Holter device). Good luck!
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