What Are the Symptoms of Sinus Bradycardia?

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  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2016
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The heart is responsible for pumping blood and nutrients throughout the body to sustain life. In a normal individual, the sinus rhythm, or how fast the heart beats, is regulated by the sinoatrial node, located inside the section of the heart referred to as the atrium. Sinus bradycardia is a medical condition where the sinus rhythm is disturbed, causing the heart to beat slower than usual when at rest.

In an average adult, the sinoatrial node acts as the body’s natural pacemaker and sends out electrical impulses causing the heart to beat around sixty to one hundred times every minute. When these impulses slow and the heart rate dip below fifty beats per minute, the individual is considered to have sinus bradycardia. Though many athletes in peak physical condition sustain a resting heart rate under fifty beats per minute, sinus bradycardia in an average person can cause symptoms and problems if the heart rate decreases too much so as to not meet the body’s needs. Due to some athletes' training though, their heart becomes more efficient, being able to pump enough blood out to the body with less beats per minute.


In some cases of sinus bradycardia, there are no outwards signs of a problem. When problems do arise however, symptoms may include respiratory problems such as an inability to endure any increases in physical activity, and shortness of breath with feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness, a condition known as vertigo. Chest pain and an increasing chance of fainting, a medical condition referred to as syncope, may also result as the body is not receiving an adequate amount of blood.

The most common causes of sinus bradycardia can include such things as a slow-functioning thyroid or sleep problems including sleep apnea, a temporary stoppage of breathing during sleep. Some medications may also contribute to slowing of the heart rate. The sinoartrial node may also exhibit problems related to a disease process often referred to as sick sinus syndrome. This is where the normal functioning of the sinoatrial node is disrupted, slowing the resting heart rate.

Treatment for sinus bradycardia includes making healthy lifestyle choices including regular exercise and proper diet. In extreme cases, administering oxygen temporarily can combat the decrease in oxygen delivered by the lack of adequate heart pumping. In long-term or chronic cases, certain medications might be able to stabilize the rate of heart contracts. Surgical procedures include the placement of a pacemaker to control the pace at which the heart beats.


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Post 3

@literally45-- I don't think that everyone experiences these side effects. Many athletes have bradycardia, but in their situation it's actually normal. And it does not bother them as the condition would bother other people.

Due to intense training, athletes heart beat goes down to what is basically a resting heart rate for normal people. Even while exercising, their heart rate may not go up too much. But I don't think that most athletes experience fatigue or lightheadedness because of it.

Post 2

@turquoise-- I'm not a doctor or anything and I'm sure that an expert on this topic can give you a much better and accurate explanation. As far as I understand, since the sinoatrial node regulates heart rate in all individuals, bradycardia in general is considered sinus bradycardia. But the reason why the sinoatrial node works that way may have different causes. For example, it could be due to a heart condition, or a thyroid dysfunction, or the use of certain medications.

But the symptoms will mostly be the same for everyone like easily being exhausted, experiencing dizziness or vertigo.

Post 1

Because of the name, I thought that sinus bradycardia was linked to the sinuses. I didn't realize that "sinus" comes from a node in the heart.

Is sinus bradycardia the only cause of bradycardia? And can the symptoms vary from person to person?

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