By now, you know what to do if your heart starts doing jumping jacks in your chest.
But what happens if your resting heart rate — or even your heart rate after a little activity — is so slow, you can barely find your pulse?
Before you hit the panic button, take a breath (that’s always good) and think about your overall health. Do you have any symptoms of cardiovascular disease? Are you on any medication for your heart or blood pressure?
If not, you probably have no cause for concern.
But if your doctor has shoved blood pressure meds on you to lower your blood pressure (for which they’re about as useful as a snowplow in Miami), you should pay close attention. Those meds may have had the unintended consequence of slowing your heart rate down…and wearing your heart out.
And the latest research shows this can have DEADLY consequences.
According to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, when your heart rate slows to less than 60 beats per minute — a condition called bradycardia — as a side effect of beta-blockers or some other “heart drug,” your risk of an early death can go up by more than 240 percent.
Now, if your heart slows entirely on its own — without meds, or if your heart rate has always been kind of slow — there’s no reason to worry. There’s absolutely NO death risk of a slow heart rate when there are no drugs in the picture, the new study finds.
And this just mystifies the researchers, who can’t seem to figure out why a slower heart is fine in people not taking meds, but deadly in folks on beta blockers.
C’mon. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to solve this mystery. It’s not the heart rate that’s the problem — it’s the drugs!
And you may have never needed those drugs in the first place! At best, treatment is often meaningless. A 2012 study found BP meds don’t cut the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death when compared to a placebo in patients with high blood pressure in the range of 140-159 over 90-99 (also known as “stage 1 hypertension,” the lowest range to be considered “high” blood pressure).
So if your BP is under that range, don’t stress it. And if it’s in that range, don’t just gobble pills.
Work with a doc who can figure out what’s going on to cause it…and how to fix it.