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DrSugar Answers: Is My Heart Rate Too Slow?

DrSugar is in the house and answering your questions.

Dear DrSugar,
I'm a fairly active 20-something female and workout 6-7 days a week. I just measured my resting heart rate, and it seems pretty low at about 44 beats per minute. I've read that pro athletes can be in the 40-50 range, but I do not consider myself on par with the pros. Should I be concerned about my heart rate or is this perfectly normal? What are the possible causes for a low heart rate?
Slow Beating Heart

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In the medical world, a "normal" heart rate is defined as 60-100 beats per minute. Any heart rate below 60 is termed bradycardia, which just means slow heart rate. As you mentioned, people with superior physical fitness often have slower resting heart rates in the 40s and 50s. For young, healthy, active people this is completely normal and an indicator that you are in excellent physical condition.

There are a wide range of heart conditions that can lead to abnormally low heart rates, but they are extremely rare in young, healthy adults. These include heart attacks, cardiac conduction abnormalities, hypothermia, and certain medications just to name a few. Symptoms of low heart rate include dizziness, fainting spells, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. In the absence of these symptoms, a heart rate in the 40s most likely indicates that you are in great shape from working out 6 days a week (wow, very impressive). If you’re having any of these symptoms and have a slow rate, then talk to your doctor right away, otherwise keep up the good work.

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DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

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