What causes slow heart beats while resting?

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Posted on Thu, 11 Jun 2015 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: I'm a 68 year old female in good health, but suffer a lot if anxiety. Two weeks ago I had a stress/ echo done that came back completely normal.
Now I've noticed a slow heart beat when resting. Usually my heart rate is around 70 or 80. Last night it was 52 when I went to bed. It scared me so bad that I didn't sleep even when I got up and walked around, it only went to 58.. This morning it's back to 70 again. But I'm terribly worried. I gave caught slow heart beats like that in the past. I don't take any medications, so it's not that. Should I be concerned? As I said, my stress/echo was normal 2 weeks ago.
Thank you for any reassurance you can give me. I'm worried.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shubham Mehta 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
no need to worry.

Detailed Answer:
Hello
Welcome to HCM.
I can completely understand your concerns.

Anxiety is known to cause rapid heart beats but can cause slow heart beats as well.

The reasons are not well understood but this is commonly seen in many people.

The possible reasons could be incorrect evaluation or fatigue due to anxiety.

In my opinion, heart rate of 52 is fairly considering that your stress test and echo are normal. This suggests that there are no cardiac abnormalities.

I would suggest you to not worry much.
Do not keep checking your pulse repeatedly.
Practice relaxation exercises like deep breathing and meditation.

Hope this helps you.

Feel free to ask further.

I wish you well.
Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Shubham Mehta 14 minutes later
Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it so much. What do you mean by incorrect evaluation? Does that mean my stress test could have been evaluated incorrectly? Please explain for me.
I have noticed slow heart beats in the past ---- always at the time I go to bed and when I'm completely relaxed.
The reason for my stress/echo was because of skipped heart beats, but the test came back normal, so the doctor said they are benign.

I recently started doing deep breathing exercises in the mornings. I've always been anxious but have become worse after my husband passed away 4 years ago. But I think I'm slowly improving again.

I'm just so concerned about the slow heart rate that I had last night, because it usually doesn't run that low. I wouldn't have known it if I hadn't checked my blood pressure, which also reads my heart rate.

Please tell me about what you mean by possible incorrect evaluation. I hate to think that my stress/echo was interpreted wrong. Thank you so much for your help.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shubham Mehta 22 minutes later
Brief Answer:
incorrect evaluation of heart rate and NOT of stress/echo test.

Detailed Answer:
Iam sorry that I did not make my answer clear.

By incorrect evaluation I meant incorrect evaluation of your heart rate by the measuring instrument which you used.

Ideally the heart rate should be checked over carotid or radial artery for one minute.

The stress test and echo report must have been evaluated by respective specialists. Trust your doctor.
I did not talk about incorrectness of those tests. Sorry that you got confused.

Kindly continue with relaxation exercises.
52 heart rate is normal and nothing to be worried about.

Please stay calm.

Hope this addresses your concerns satisfactorily.

I wish you well.
Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Shubham Mehta 24 minutes later
I'm sorry that I misinterpreted your answer. But no problem. It was totally my fault.

My stress/echo test was evaluated by a cardiologist, in whom I have complete trust. He was unaware of my slow heart beat though, because it wasn't a problem for me at the time. It just popped up here in the past day. But if you tell me that 52 is normal, I'll believe it and try to put it out of my mind. I was going to call the cardiologist tomorrow, but I guess there's no reason to do that now.

I'll definitely keep doing my deep breathing exercises. I believe that they really do help with overall feelings of anxiety. I've been on a low dose valium for years and years for sleep, but my doctor wants me to stop taking it and focus on meditation and deep breathing, so I'm tapering. I have it down to 1 mg a day now. I believe I could probably just stop at this point.

Thank you so much for all of your help and patience. I feel relieved that you tell me 52 is normal.

doctor
Answered by Dr. Shubham Mehta 29 minutes later
Brief Answer:
happy to help you.

Detailed Answer:
Yes, 52 heart rate is normal keeping in my mind that stress test and echo is normal.

1mg valium is a very low dose and youcan stop it now. But do keep your doctor informed about it.

Happy to help you.

Kindly close the discussion if you have no more queries and give your valuable feedback.

Take care.
Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
Answered by
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Dr. Shubham Mehta

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 2004 Questions

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