A new study published by the online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association’s (JAMA) Journal of Internal Medicine finds that a slower than normal heart rate does not cause heart disease. Slower than normal heart rate, diagnosed as bradycardia, is a sustained heart rate at less than 50 beats per minute. An average a heart at rest beats between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
According to a press release from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, bradycardia limits the amount of oxygenated blood circulating in the body. Symptoms from bradycardia include light-headedness, fainting and chest pain. This is good news for patients with diagnosed bradycardia, says Dr. Ajay Dharod M.D., co-author of the study.
The study was sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. There were 6,733 participates from different ethnic backgrounds and included both men and women ages 45 to 84. The mean age of the participants was 62-years-old and 47 percent were male. Some of the participants were on heart rate (HR) medications used to treat hypertension. The majority of the participants were not on any type of HR medication. The mean HR of the participants was 63 beats per minute with 5.3 percent with a HR of lower than 50 beats per minute. The participants’ cardiovascular health and mortality was monitored for 10-years.
902 of the participants taking HR medication had an elevated death risk when their HR was lower than 50 beats per minute.
The study concluded that bradycardia did not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients, but it did show a potential link between a lower than normal heart beat and death in those participants taking HR medication. According to the results, 902 of the participants taking HR medication had an elevated death risk when their HR was lower than 50 beats per minute.
Science Daily reports that bradycardia might be problematic for those taking HR medications and that the co-author of the study says that more research is needed to confirm the elevated risk of death.