low heart rate

I am wondering how low a heart rate can be before it gets dangerous. I was shopping and celebrating a friend's birthday and while we were eating lunch, I got all tingly and felt like I might pass out. (No, I do not drink alcohol) I checked my heart rate monitor and my heart rate was 44. I know that is very low, but how low is too low? I hate that these things always seem to happen on the weekend too. If I go to the ER, I will be in the hospital until Tuesday. My doctor told me that I have a mandatory 24 hour stay at the hospital if I come in with anything related to my heart and since it is the weekend, they would not do any tests until Monday at the earliest. I would rather he be that way than not care. I don't know what to do. My rate is up to 54 for now. I am a little afraid to go to sleep though. Does anyone know how low is too low?
Melanie

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Hi melisue, My heart rate is down in the 40's pretty much all the time. Healthy fit people I am told have low heart rates but I honestly do not know how low too low is. I know I used to be in the 80's when I was heavier but now that I lost alot of weight I have been in the 50' and 40's. Here are a few sites you could look at to give you some clue:

http://www.hrspatients.org/patients/signs_symptoms/too_slow.asp

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/tc/bradycardia-slow-heart-rate-overview

Hope these help, please take care and I am sure others will give you some better help soon..

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Connie,
Thank you for the web sites. They were helpful. My doctor cut my coreg dose last August because my heart rate was 50 during an EKG in his office. He said that was too low. He was talking about a pacemaker then. He sent me to a specialist who said that if I was not having symptoms, He did not recommend a pacemaker. My heart rate stayed low, but no symptoms. My doctor just cut my dose again in February because of my heart rate, but still no change and no symptoms until yesterday. I was having problems with heart failure most of this month. Maybe that has something to do with this. I will call my doctor on Monday to see what he wants to do.
Melanie

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I have questioned the same thing and researched everywhere and still get no clear answer. The cardiologist reply was there is no blood pressure too low if you can keep functioning. Heart rate probably would get that same answer. I am on no bp meds because of the low numbers - the drugs absolutely took what little wind I had in my sails out for the day.

Good luck in reaching the doctor - you deserve some answers.
Laura

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Melisue -- all I can add is that my ICD is set to go into pace mode at 45. In 2006, I had a complete heart block in the middle of the night, leading to emergency implant. I had been having episodes of dizziness, near-collapse and a surging feeling for a few days prior. The docs said it was "really good" that I woke up and went to ER that night! I'm also on beta blocker now but my daytime pulse is still in the 70's. Take care, laurali

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I also have a very low heart rate. Two nights ago, half an hour after i went to bed i started shaking, like i am having a fever. My body was not hot, but ice cold and it felt if my limbs went dead, a tingling feeling. Did anybody had these symtoms before?

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I also have a very low heart rate. Sometimes if will tremble like someone who has a high fever, but i will be ice cold. I also have the tingling feeling in my limbs

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Is the medication contributing to the low heart rate or were you like this before meds?

My heart rate got very low on coreg and I felt winded and dizzy so switched to norvasc, but I eventually chose to discontinue that as well, b/c my symptoms indicated too low (for my comfort/functioning).

If the patient does not have hypertension, then why the blood pressure meds? Is it good to keep one's heart rate "artificially" low. I would think each person would have a very individual baseline for "normal" within the standard ranges.

There seems to be alot more medical guidance associated with high blood pressure as too high though, than with low blood pressure as too low.

Also, I always wonder for younger patients, what about the effects of medication over 30 yrs or so (given that we may live into our 70's I hope). The long term on meds is perhaps more a concern than for someone in their 70's with heart disease (I don't have heart disease but had a dissected artery with MI, a spasm with MI, and 4 stents ).

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Doctors always commented on my low blood pressure- Usually around 90/70, but none of them ever said anything about slow heart rate. I do not know what my heart rate was before. I also asked about why I needed blood pressure meds because it was already so low and I was told that there are benefits from the meds that help protect your heart from another heart attack. They also help with the heart failure. All four cardiologists that I have seen have told me that, so I continue to take them.
I have called my current cardiologist, but he is out of the office until Wednesday, so I wait for an answer. The nurse said if I continue to have symptoms, to go to the ER. But my heart rate is fine now except at night when I am sitting or resting, then it still dips down to 47 or so. I am afraid to go off the coreg because I got better on it and I have heard how it protects your heart so I am scared to go off of it. He has cut the dose twice and it hasn't helped my heart rate so I don't think it is from the coreg.
Melanie

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Hi Melanie

I have had most of my life low blood pressure and heart rate. It was not until my heart attack that I have had horrible times with low heart rates. Not to long ago I had heart rates well below 40. I passed out several times one time I did this during making an appointment with my primary doctor. I have a full journal about the problem. Anyway it finally came out that they took me of atanol a beta blocker.

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/beta-blocker-therapy

There was one other time my heart rate was so low. and I had all the symptoms of problems. But all the test showed negative. My cardiologist finally decided on an Angioplasty and I had almost a 100% blockage.

Right now I am being a guinea pig for all kinds of Beta blockers and they do not seem to do the Job and have high blood pressure and a high pulse sometimes up to 140. But you know what I feel fantastic I finally have some energy.....

Still, I wished everything was back to a normal blood pressure and a normal heart rate this is not very much fun either because at times I have horrible heart flutters.

You may look into your blood pressure medication because, it seems like everyone that has heart disease is on Beta blockers. A blockage also can produce low blood pressure

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/pulse-measurement?page=3.

Take care of yourself, Vrolijk

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Today, while I was sitting watching tv, I was wearing the heart monitor I usually wear to the gym. I felt a slight fluttering in my chest area and glanced at my heart monitor...it was flashing 30. My heart rate is generally in the 60s when I'm sitting.
I have had chest pains for years, but after many tests nothing shows up except gallstones and possible bradycardia. My doctor says the stones are probably the cause of the chest pain, since the tests don't show any heart issues. The bradycardia was only briefly mentioned and has never been addressed by my doctor...she acts as if it isn't too serious.
I understand that very fit people have a low heart rate, but do not consider myself very fit. I am in fair condition but a little over weight. I can run 1 mile at a time, but at a jog pace...nothing fast.
This is the first time I've seen my heart rate so low and I am concerned. Besides the fluttering feeling, I wasn't feeling bad, just relaxed.
Has anyone ever experience a heart rate this low or spoken to a doctor about such a thing? I don't see my doctor again for about 3 weeks, but this was kinda worrisome. Any ideas or suggestions?

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"possible bradycardia"

According to the medical texts, a heart rate below 60...unless you are a professional athelete, or extremely fit....means you are now heading into 'cardiogenic shock' territory. Pumping action slower than 60 pumps per minute may mean there is too much of a time lag during the passive flow duration (diastolic) for the body to get enough blood back into the heart chambers in time for it to pump it back out again (systole). If there is little or no fluid in the heart for it it to pump it cannot maintain consistent pressure to sustain life.

There are many kinds of shock....but they all involve a battle to keep enough blood, plasma, fluids inside the heart chambers in time to pump. Symptoms of cardiogenic shock are clammy cold chilly skin (because adrenalin is pumping frantically to get the heart rate up), confusion, paleness, crashing heart rate and bp, shaking in chest, possible loss of consciousness. bradycardia means the heart rate has slowed too much to keep blood in the chambers...instead much of it is staying, pooling in the rest of the body, can't get back to the heart. That's why the first thing EMTs, first responders are supposed to do is start saline IVs, plasma lines...get your body plumped up with fluids to keep the heart pumping intact until patient gets to ER. Kind of like a balloon that has lost most of it's air.......gotta put more air in or the balloon deflates completely.

Patients with preexisting dead heart muscle, heart damage who also present with cardiogenic shock have a poor prognosis. 70 % mortality rate w this combo. So don't let doctors or EMTs mess around while your reversible shock status turns to irreversible. (my EMTs chose to fight with each other for 20 minutes in my doorway and another 15 in the ambulance while I fought through cardiogenic shock...in and out of consciousness). 4 hours later, I was still not stabilized in the cath lab. Amazing what the body can survive...especially at times when there is zero margin for errors and medical responders were doing everything in their power to ensure I didn't make it. But I did!!! : )

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