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Low Heart Rate
Old 08-08-2019, 01:25 PM   #1
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Low Heart Rate

Anybody else have an abnormally low heart rate? My rate used to be consistently in the mid 50's - low 60's, but lately has been anywhere from 44 to low 50's - but mainly in the high 40's - during the day.

My cardiologist schedule a exercise stress test, 48 hour Holter monitor and echocardiogram. The stress test came back fine. Still waiting on results from the Holter monitor and will take the Echo later this month.

I realize that highly conditioned athletes tend to have low rates. Nobody has ever looked at me and thought I was one of those, so something else is going on. I have mild CAD, but other than that most heart related tests I've had over the last couple of years have come out normal. My cardiologist seemed to be fine when my rate was 55 (still low), but seemed a little bit concerned that it's gone down from there.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:33 PM   #2
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My resting heart rate right now is 53 and I am 75 years old. I had SVT last year (fixed by an ablation procedure) and back to normal. Heart and surroundings are excellent and I am not a highly conditioned athlete. But I was a long distance runner decades ago, if that means anything.

When I am out for a long walk, it goes up to just over 100.

I'm not sure what normal is for anyone.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:45 PM   #3
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My nurse practioner suggested I monitor it every morning for awhile. I was usually in the low 40s, and hit 39 twice. I've measured with my BP cuff, a phone app, and by fingers on the neck, and they are all consistent. I run a lot, but it's always been low, even a few years out of college when I barely ran. I had a nurse get a really worried look one night when I was in the hospital after a ruptured appendix and got used to the nightly monitor checks and barely work up. Not sure what the number was but I'll bet it was in the 30s.

I know some fast runners who have a lot higher HR so I don't think it's any sign of superior health. Most seem to be in the 40s though. As long as you don't get light headed it's probably fine. I'm told me heart beats very strong so I am getting the blood out to the rest of the body as needed.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:45 PM   #4
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My resting heart rate is between 50 and 54 depending on the day, and I am a 50 year old male in reasonably good shape but I am certainly not a highly trained athlete in top physical shape. I have wondered the same thing as you, but I chalk it up to good genes mostly, and being in moderately good shape.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:55 PM   #5
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My nurse practioner suggested I monitor it every morning for awhile. I was usually in the low 40s, and hit 39 twice. I've measured with my BP cuff, a phone app, and by fingers on the neck, and they are all consistent. I run a lot, but it's always been low, even a few years out of college when I barely ran. I had a nurse get a really worried look one night when I was in the hospital after a ruptured appendix and got used to the nightly monitor checks and barely work up. Not sure what the number was but I'll bet it was in the 30s.

I know some fast runners who have a lot higher HR so I don't think it's any sign of superior health. Most seem to be in the 40s though. As long as you don't get light headed it's probably fine. I'm told me heart beats very strong so I am getting the blood out to the rest of the body as needed.
Unfortunately, I get light headed almost every day and have for the last 5 years. But 5 years ago, my average heart rate was in the 70s. Now it's probably 50. I'm almost hoping that somethings wrong with my heart and not Neurological. My last trip to the Neurologist (back in 2015), he thought I had possible MSA (Multiple System Atrophy). I'd probably be dead by now if that was what it truly was, but I'm really hoping it's NOT a brain issue.
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:10 PM   #6
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That would be of concern to me. That just doesn't seem normal for it to drop like that unless you've really stepped up your exercise. I don't know anything more than that so I offer no advice or outlook for you. It's good that you're seeing a cardiologist and taking it very seriously, and looking at other possibilities. I hope they find something minor that can be easily corrected. Good luck.
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:11 PM   #7
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Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:12 PM   #8
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Much like RunningBum I'm one of those conditioned athletes with resting heart rate around 40 and often in the high 30s. I have to let anesthesiologists know I have bradycardia because at first they used to overshoot whatever they use to put me to sleep, then have to inject a revival drug. I know this because I always chat with them when I awake.

I was on a gurney in intense pain from a kidney stone that wanted to get out and the HRM was beeping an alarm because my heart rate was in the mid 40's. My wife was pissed because even under intense distress my heart rate was low. The nurse just turned off the sound.
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:35 PM   #9
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My heart rate is often pretty low though not in the forties. I am not a highly trained or even highly untrained athlete, but I do eat a mostly vegan diet with modest amount of exercise (should do more). I bought one of those finger monitors from Amazon to monitor it and see what makes it go up and down, at least food and exercise kinds of stuff I can control. I know Folger's instant coffee makes it go down, which was interesting to me. Eating produce usually makes it go down further, meat and yogurt usually make it go up. Aerobic exercises makes it go up. Sitting still or sleep = heart rate drop. If I work at it I can go into the 70s.


According to the nutritionfact's site, beans can also really lower your heart rate (as much as 250 hours on a treadmill) - https://nutritionfacts.org/video/slo...s-vs-exercise/
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:54 PM   #10
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My heart rate is usually in somewhere in the 50's. Often low 50's. In the evening, I suspect as my metabolic clock or whatever it's called, moves into "sleepy-time" mode it can dip into the 40's.

I first noticed this maybe in 2003 or 2004. I do exercise a lot but I am far from a marathon runner or cross country biker or skier. Doctors, who only see me in the office, have commented on my "nice low heart rate and blood pressure." It likely was not as low as it is at home.

I recall back in 1979, at age 22, getting my BP and HR taken before a dental exam. They asked me if I had black outs or dizzy spells. I said , no. Then they asked if I was a marathon runner or bicycle racer. I thought..... GP health questions like "Do you smoke or drink?" I asked why are you asking that? They said "because your heart rate and BP are very low and we only see it that low in marathon runners or people with heart problems who have black outs." . At the time, being young and super-duper I did not do any kind of exercise, smoked at least a pack a day, and drank coffee by the pound.

I have started to worry about this the past few yrs as I've gotten close to 60. OLD people ---> low BP/HR ----> fall down ---> can't get up---> subdural hematoma/broken hip ---> never be the same again

Youth can cover for a galaxy or other short falls and irregularities that begin to cause problems when youth is gone.
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:56 PM   #11
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Some of this is just genetics. I'm not in great shape right now, just a 59 year old schlub sitting around at his desk and measured my HR at 54. It's usually a bit under 50 when I wake up in the morning.
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:26 PM   #12
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I believe hypothyroidism can also cause a slower heart rate. Might have your TSH checked.
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:46 PM   #13
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I believe hypothyroidism can also cause a slower heart rate. Might have your TSH checked.
Interestingly, my last TSH was high, indicating an underperforming thyroid. And my HR probably is a little lower than usual as I usually don't see the 30s unless I'm in great shape, which I'm not right now. I'm taking something for it and getting it rechecked next week.

That's a good suggestion to the OP.
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:43 PM   #14
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I believe hypothyroidism can also cause a slower heart rate. Might have your TSH checked.
Had that checked a couple weeks ago when I did my normal blood work with my PCP. It's normal. Thanks for the info!
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:12 PM   #15
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My resting HR has always been 40-45, even upper 30's, since I've known it. When in college infirmary with flu, nurse came by at 5-6a, took it, & asked me if I was alive. It was 37 - first time I knew. Didn't mean a thing to me then. Now when a nurse takes it I say, "Yes, I'm alive.". My Dad's was slow also though I don't know numbers.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:31 PM   #16
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I second having the thyroid checked out. Apart from TSH (which you say has already been checked), they should do a full thyroid panel for T3, T4 and reverse T3. TSH values alone do not tell the whole story.
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:02 PM   #17
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I was at the dentist on Wednesday, the dental hygienist took my BP and said wow you have a really low heart rate. Are you a runner? I said yes I been running and exercising all my life. I don't know what my bpm were then but usually I am in the mid to high 40's. My doctor said it's fine just stay well hydrated and you won't have any dizzy spells. That was an issue 20 years ago, but since he told me that I drink plenty of water. I'm 58 by the way.
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:07 PM   #18
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Age 56, lifetime runner, HR in the low 50's
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:07 PM   #19
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My resting heart rate was as low as the mid 30's for a few months during marathon training a few years ago. Quit running, concentrated on biking and hiking and resting heart rate rose to the mid 40's. Now haven't exercised much in the last few weeks and it is up to 47.
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:40 AM   #20
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I and almost 66 and mine runs at about 55 - 62 on average. My ICD will not let my heart go below 50 or over 140
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