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The Slower The Heart Rate The Healthier/More Longevous? Here's What Doctors Say

The Slower The Heart Rate The Healthier/More Longevous? Here's What Doctors Say

In the animal kingdom, the heart rate of a mouse is up to 450 beats per minute; however, a mouse can only live for two years. The heart rate of an elephant is 40 beats per minute, and an elephant can live for 80 years. That of a turtle is ten beats per minute, whereas, a turtle can survive over a hundred years. 

To conclude, the slower the heart rate, the longer can an animal live?

Well, it is the same as for human beings?

Let's have a look at a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2012. According to the research, Olympic game winners outlive ordinary people by 2.8 years longer.

They share one thing in common: the heart rate is slower than the ordinary people.


It is because of long-term intensive exercise, their hearts become more powerful, allowing them to pump a more considerable amount of blood. When they are static, fewer beats are needed to keep the heart energetic.

The heart rate of an athlete can be as low as 37 beats per minute; in comparison, the heart rate of an ordinary man is 60 to 100 times per minute. The former is much lower.

Therefore, the slower the heart rate, the longer can a man live?

Don't jump to a conclusion.

In clinical medicine, sometimes too slow heart rate doesn't mean good health.

You've got to know whether it is associated with bradycardia, a chronic heart rhythm disturbance.


Bradycardia: resting heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute

Generally speaking, as for an adult, if the resting heart rate is lower than 60 beats per minute, he/she suffers from bradycardia.

With differences in the position, bradycardia can be classified into:

○Sinus bradycardia: Problems with the cardiac sinus that it slows down or doesn't work

○Escape beat: Dysfunction of the sinus node and atrioventricular node 

○Atrioventricular block: The conduction between the atria and ventricles of the heart is impaired

Grade 1 (Mild): Without any syndrome. It can only be diagnosed through an electrocardiographic examination;
Grade 2 (Medium): Progressive failure or prolongation of PR interval with dropped beats;
Grade 3 (Severe): The heart's electrical signals are slow to a complete halt. Irregular heart rate and under 20 beats per minute.


Physiologic and pathological bradycardia

The physiologic and pathological bradycardia have different causes.

Generally, it is normal to have physiologic bradycardia, so occasional occurrences don't require any special treatment.

Here are several cases of the physiologic bradycardia.

○Long-term manual workers;
○Professional athletes or those who often do sports;
○Ordinary people who are sleeping.


However, one should pay attention to it when it comes to the elderly.

According to medical research and clinical statistics, 70% of the elderly suffer from the pathological bradycardia. It results from hypertensive heart disease, coronary heart disease, myocarditis, cardiomyopathy, and so on.

Apart from heart disease, the cause might be:

○Electrolyte imbalance (e.g., hyperkalemia);
○Endocrine disorders (e.g., thyroid hypofunction);
○Drug side effects (e.g., digitalis). The syndrome will disappear after drug withdrawal.


Syndromes and treatments

The bradycardia may lead to brain ischemia. Patients who suffer from mild brain ischemia might suffer from discomfort such as fatigue, feebleness, dizziness, tachypnea, etc. or not syndromes at all. In severe cases, patients might faint, have chest pain, angina, cardiac failure, cardiac arrest, threatening to life.

Thus, the slow heart rate might not be okay sometimes. Of course, you don't have to worry too much. 

According to the internist, in most cases, having a slow heart rate is not a big problem, and you can ignore it.

However, you need to take care of your case is severe, or you suffer from chronic bradycardia.

Currently, the bradycardia is incurable.

However, severe patients can install a cardiac pacemaker to maintain the regular heart rate, according to the doctor's advice.


Well, I've finished talking about the slow heart rate. Do you know it better?

If one day your little healthy heart is unhappy or lazy, don't forget to take good care of it! In case of any discomfort, please go to a professional medical establishment, and follow the doctor's suggestions.


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