People with bradycardia—a condition where the heart beats just 50 times or less a minute, compared with the normal 60 to 100 beats—don’t have an increased risk of heart disease, say researchers from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre.
It wasn’t known if bradycardia could cause heart disease, but the researchers say there isn’t a connection. “For a large majority of people with a heart rate in the 40s or 50s who have no symptoms, the prognosis is very good,” said lead researcher Ajay Dharod. “Our results should be reassuring for those diagnosed with asymptomatic (no symptom) bradycardia.”
The researchers tracked the health of 6,733 men and women, aged between 45 and 84, for 10 years; some were taking drugs to control high blood pressure. Although those with bradycardia didn’t develop heart disease, those taking the drugs were more likely to do so, and were more likely to die prematurely.
Typical signs of bradycardia include light-headedness, shortness of breath, fainting or chest pain.