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Bradycardia (slow heartrate) with ME?

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by hugoalexander, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. hugoalexander

    hugoalexander

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    Hey there, I just got a quick question. Is there any of you who has bradycardia, which is a far slower heartrate than usual. Normally it's between 60-80 in rest and someone with bradycardia has below 50. I've had this since about 1.5 years. It comes with a lot of symptoms like pressure on the chest, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizzyness, fainting, shaking and jaw pain.

    I've read that there were a lot of people with ME with a higher heartrate, but never a slower, therefore my question. :)

    All the best to everyone,

    Hugo
     
  2. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    Yep, resting heart rate 45-50. Probably had it for last 30 years, I also used to be very sporty. It has led to dizziness and fainting a few times. Only had ME for 2.5 years, so not sure if there's any connection.
     
  3. Thinktank

    Thinktank Senior Member

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    I believe quite a few on PR have a low resting heart rate. Mine is usually around 60, when sleeping it drops to 53 - 54.
     
  4. hugoalexander

    hugoalexander

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    Hmm I used to sport a lot as well @TiredSam, but my heartrate was always good (around 75). It's just in the last 1.5 years it started dropping and now it's about 45 in rest, when sleeping it drops to 40 and sometimes even under. Although sometimes when I'm almost falling asleep, I start to get pain and suddenly wake up like I'm getting a heart attack. For me it feels that my heart is going way too slow when I almost fall asleep, so my heart suddenly starts beating really fast for a few seconds. Ever had that?

    @Thinktank: 60 is still just normal though! A little low, but nothing unusual.

    I had many tests in the hospital where they only saw the bradycardia, some irregularities and the stress test (biking until you're heart beats the fastest possible) wasn't working since I had to stop at 120 since my body was so exhausted and my muscles couldn't continue to due to ME.
     
  5. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    Nope. Doesn't really bother me unless I stand up too quickly, but no problems falling asleep. I wouldn't be able to go on an exercise bike now, I haven't done sport for about 2 years and don't even go for a walk or walk fast anywhere any more. I even get out of breath going upstairs. But that's all since M.E. onset, can't say my low heart rate bothered me much before that.
     
  6. Marky90

    Marky90 Science breeds knowledge, opinion breeds ignorance

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    You really need to rule out heart disease. But yes, both bradycardia and tachycardia is common in ME. I see them as adaptations to whatever disease process we have.
     
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  7. Old Bones

    Old Bones Senior Member

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    @hugoalexander I don't have bradycardia according to your definition of less than 50 bpm. My lowest reading during the three months I've been recording daily is 50 (while sitting). What I have noticed is the variability. My supine resting heart rate has ranged from the low 50's to around 90. I find this interesting, since some ME practitioners suggest using resting heart rate as a pacing tool. The protocol is to measure your resting heart rate first thing in the morning, lying down, for several days to get an average (preferably during a period of time when you are pacing appropriately). Thereafter, by taking your heart rate each morning before getting out of bed, you can see if you have recovered from the previous day's activities. If you heart rate is higher, it means you haven't recovered. I'm developing some confidence in the validity of this protocol, since I've watched my resting heart rate either gradually, or dramatically, increase from day to day when I know I've exceeded my capacity. These days, my monitoring tells me I really shouldn't be leaving the house at all.

    I haven't experienced exactly what you described above when falling asleep. But, I have noticed it when I unintentionally hold my breath (another common autonomic issue in ME patients). It feels like my heart has stopped, and it then palpitates (rapid fluttering sensation)for a few seconds. This is my cue to start breathing again. It is rather scary.
     
  8. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    I'd agree with that. I regularly got my heart checked before M.E. and it was always fine. Since having M.E. I've also been to a cardiologist to have heart problems excluded. I refused to do the exercise bike test, so we did that examination at rest, and also an echocardiogram. All clear again.
     
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  9. CantThink

    CantThink Senior Member

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    I get both brady down to 47 and tachy up to in the 160s. When mine goes low, it is as if my pacemaker is struggling to work and then suddenly kicks in. I can feel it's going sloooooow, pause, then suddenly boom bomb boom and it will start climbing to the normal 60-100 range.
     
  10. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member

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    Since bradycardia could be a totally separate issue from ME, it would no doubt be best to get it checked out by a professional to rule out the known causes.

    Having said that, I do suspect that the bradycardia that some ME patients report is more than a coincidence. I don't know if its a consequence or a predisposition, but neither I nor any doctor noticed it in me prior the onset of ME. I only noticed it because I had been prescribed a beta blocker in the wake of onset on the theory that my symptoms were anxiety related. That dropped my pulse to 45 at rest and into the high 30's at night. I tried to adjust the dose, but gave up when I awoke one morning with ice cold hands. Once I quit the beta blocker, my resting pulse only rose to 52. It remained around there for years. Only recently has it edged up toward 60.

    My original doctor probably did not notice my low resting pulse before prescribing the beta blocker because my pulse was no doubt elevated (and thus appeared normal) in his office.

    My cardiologist, who I began seeing for high blood pressure some time ago, has done several tests over the years and has never found anything wrong my heart. High blood pressure itself can cause bradycardia, along with other things such as hypothyroidism and "repeated disruption of breathing during sleep" (i.e. some form of sleep apnea).

    I would get it checked out, if only to set your mind at ease.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
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  11. ryan31337

    ryan31337 Senior Member

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    Hi Hugo,

    Yep, seated I average 43bpm, lowest i've recorded whilst conscious was 38bpm (dubious sense of pride :whistle:). I've never exercised excessively (ME since age 10) so I can't see it being a normal adaptation.

    I'm seeing a heart rhythm specialist about it next weekend because my GP/cardiologist apparently don't consider it a problem (more likely they don't know what to do and won't admit that...). I also have POTS and orthostatic hypertension. Sleep is usually pretty messy, random tachy spikes that wake me up, sometimes gasping with the sense that I've stopped breathing whilst dozing too.

    @Old Bones Good advice on the morning HR. I'm about to take it one step further and look at HRV too, not sure if its been discussed on the forums much. Will look into it and start a new thread if not. No idea on the validity of the science but it appears to be marketed at athletes to monitor the effect of over-training on the autonomic nervous system. I have a chest strap + app that does the calculation and gives a sympathetic vs parasympathetic balance assessment - could be all nonsense though!

    Ryan
     
  12. Old Bones

    Old Bones Senior Member

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    @ryan31337 No doubt many physicians (including cardiologists) consider our low resting heart rates to be an indication of a healthy heart. I know most of the ones I've seen have. If only they knew how physically impaired we really are. I, too, have POTS, which places my heart rate in the "training zone" almost all day, most days. I've often wondered if this in itself is a type of aerobic exercise which compensates for our inability to do actual exercise. I'm hoping so, since I've reached the age where decades of illness-imposed inactivity should be adversely affecting my cardiac health. And, since the members of my family have all died of heart failure, it is concerning.
     
  13. Mel9

    Mel9 Senior Member

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    My resting heart rate ( by FitBit) was around 90 bpm for over a year. But in the past month it has decreased to a comsistent 70. Is this good or bad ?
     

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