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Low heart rate, 53 bpm, lightheaded, dizzy, chest pain. Anxiety or bradycardia?

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Cardiologist, Interventional
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 192 Questions
I am 25 years old, 6 ft. 1 in. and about 192 pounds. I am not usually especially active but lately I have started to exercise, maybe 2 or 3 times per week. My problem is that my heart rate is a bit low - it stays at around 53 bpm resting. I also tend to feel spacey, lightheaded, and dizzy. Sometimes I worry I'm going to faint. Also, sometimes I have chest pains. Is this anxiety or bradycardia? I don't think I'm necessarily unhealthy, but certainly not athletic enough to have such a low heart rate.
Posted Fri, 13 Apr 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Raja Sekhar Varma 11 hours later
Thank you for your query.

From your height and weight, your body mass index is 25.46, which is on the higher side of normal. It is good that you have started exercising.

The heart rate of 53 per minute is a little low, but not necessarily abnormal. I need to clarify some points here from you.

1) Does your heart rate increase during exercise?
2) Are your symptoms of dizziness and light-headedness seen during exercise? Are they also seen when you change posture from lying down to sitting or standing?
3)Have you ever had a black-out?
4) Have you taken an ECG?

You should get an ECG recorded. If you can upload the ECG using the file upload feature of the website, I could see the rhythm and see whether it is sinus bradycardia or if there is a block in the electrical conduction of the heart.

You could also get an exercise ECG done to document the changes in heart rate with exercise. Normally, the heart rate should increase during exercise.
Depending on the findings of the ECG/exercise ECG, further tests may be needed.

I hope this answer is of help to you. Please get back to me with the clarifications and the ECG, so that I can give you a more specific reply.

Dr RS Varma
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