Reason for a Low Pulse Rate?
A low pulse rate can be a sign of good or bad health. The average person has a resting pulse rate of somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Still, many people do not fit into that category. Some have pulse rates that zoom into triple figures, while others may have a pulse of less than 60 beats per minute. A low pulse rate can indicate serious or not-so-serous medical problems. Knowing the potential causes will help you figure out if you have anything to worry about.
A low pulse rate can indicate heart disease in some instances. Conditions such as myocarditis and endocarditis can cause the pulse to slow because of problems with the pump itself.
Myocarditis is the inflammation of the middle layer of heart muscles. This disease can weaken the heart's ability to pump blood. Endocarditis is an infection usually caused by bacteria attacking the inner lining of the heart. This can damage the heart or valves and cause it to pump improperly, according to the Mayo Clinic website.
Low pulse rates can also occur because of a history of heart attack or stroke. Arrhythmia, the result of a malfunctioning electrical signal inside the heart that causes abnormal heartbeats, can also result in a lowered pulse rate.
Marathon runners often have a low pulse rate. A low pulse rate can actually be a good thing for some people. If you are an endurance athlete or are otherwise in very good physical condition, then your pulse is likely to be lower than average. It is not uncommon for the very fit and athletes such as marathon runners to have resting pulse rates of less than 60.
When the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, the body's functions slow down across the board. This includes the slowing of the pulse rate, known as hypothyroidism. If you have a low pulse rate and also have symptoms including fatigue, decreased concentration, constipation, muscle cramping and weight gain, you could be suffering from hypothyroidism.
As you age, your pulse rate slows down naturally. It does not necessarily indicate any kind of problem; it may be just another signal that you are getting older.
Some medications, including atenolol and diltiazem, can cause a low pulse rate. These drugs are often prescribed for patients with high blood pressure, according to the University of Illinois Medical Center website.