How to Treat Low Pulse Rate

Generally, having a low pulse rate means you are perfectly healthy. However, sometimes your pulse rate can become dangerously low. A normal, healthy pulse rate is usually between 60 to 100 beats per minute, but if your pulse is slightly lower or higher, there is no need for immediate alarm. A pulse rate below 50 beats per minute, however, can cause serious symptoms, such as dizziness, fatigue, weakness, and even fainting. You may also experience difficulty breathing.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

If you experience symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, or weakness, your pulse rate may be below normal. You should seek medical attention right away. When these types of symptoms are accompanied by a slow pulse rate, it may be a sign of a disturbance in your heart rhythm, which could lead to cardiac arrest.

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Your doctor may determine that something other than a disturbance in your heart rhythm is causing your low pulse rate. Other conditions that can lower your pulse rate include problems with your thyroid gland, hypothermia, malnutrition, or heart damage caused by a heart attack. Follow the course of treatment your doctor recommends if you suffer from any of these conditions.

Medications that are known to slow pulse rates may be prescribed by your doctor. Some of these medications include beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, digitalis, tranquilizers, and sedatives. If your doctor prescribes a medication to treat your low pulse rate, follow his instructions for proper dosage.

Consider whether you may have accidentally given yourself a double dose of your regular medicine.

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If your low pulse rate is not caused by a medical condition, your doctor will check your prescription medications to make sure you're taking them correctly. Improper dosage of some medications can cause a low pulse rate. If a side effect of your medication is low pulse rate, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative.

Implanting an artificial pacemaker is the most effective treatment for a chronically low pulse rate. An artificial pacemaker will regulate your heart rate, and therefore your pulse rate, and keep it at a normal level. Implanting a pacemaker requires surgery. Be sure you discuss all the risks with your doctor before deciding on this course of treatment.