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Why Having a Super Low Heart
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July 30, 2018

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor
and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and
other members of our Editorial Board.]





Watching the Tour de France this year, as I always do, from
he comfort of my couch, I sigh.  Those guys must have such
low heart rates! And so they do. The legendary Miguel
Indurain, who won the Tour de France 5 consecutive times,
is regarded as the best at climbing the steep mountains on a
bike. He is regarded as perhaps the best, drug-free cyclist in
history, along with Greg Lemonde. Indurain's resting heart
rate was said to be 28.

You read that right ---28 beats per minute. For comparison,
we mere mortals have an average resting heart rate of 72
and our range is between 60 and 80 beats per minute.

The popular notion about heart rate is the lower the better.
And it sort of makes sense. The theory is that your heart is a
pump and it only has a certain number of beats in it per
lifetime. So, if you can reduce the number of beats, you can
make the heart lasts longer, thus extending your life.


But there is a flip side to the story of extremely low heart
rates and it is called "sinus bradycardia".

Sinus Bradycardia - The Little Known Affliction of Endurance
Athletes







































With sinus bradycardia, the condition can be caused by
engaging in endurance sports such as running, cycling or
soccer.  The sinus node, also called the sinoatrial  node, is
the pacemaker of your heart. Your heart is designed to beat
between 60 and 100 beats per minute. A heart rate slower
than 60 beats per minute is abnormally slow.  

We know that a heart rate slower than 60 is abnormal
because it can sometimes lead to symptoms. Though in many
cases there are no symptoms, sinus bradycardia can lead to
skipped or missing heart beats. Many endurance athletes
require a heart pacemaker later in life because of this
condition.

The elderly can experience sinus bradycardia when they are
asleep. The condition sometimes alternates with a faster than
normal heart rate, called tachycardia and the combined
syndrome is known as tachycardia-bradycardia syndrome.


What Causes Sinus Bradycardia?



Cedars Sinai Hospital lists 17 causes of bradycardia:

  • Advanced age
  • Bearing down too much when you have a bowel
    movement
  • Coughing
  • Endurance athletics such as running or cycling
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Problems with the SA node (sick sinus syndrome)
  • Inflammatory heart conditions, like pericarditis or
    myocarditis
  • Heart conditions that exist at birth (congenital)
  • Hypothermia
  • Increased pressure inside the head (for example, in an
    injury to the brain)
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)

  • Drugs that affect the sinus node and your heart rate,
    such as beta-blockers used to treat hypertension
  • Sudden contact with cold water
  • Underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism)
  • Myotonic dystrophy
  • Vomiting
  • Wearing a tight collar (this can put pressure on your
    carotid sinus)


How to Avoid Sinus Bradycardia

The list of causes gives you a pretty good idea of how to
reduce your risks for sinus bradycardia. Of course, some of
the causes are genetic and can't be avoided. But plenty of
others can be managed.

Because use of beta blockers raises your risk for sinus
bradycardia, you should try to manage your blood pressure,
keeping it within a normal range naturally, if possible.
Assuming you do not have extremely resistant hypertension,
one of the most effective ways to reduce your blood
pressure is to decrease the amount of meat you eat, and
instead to rely mostly on vegetables, fruits and nuts.

If that is too hard, then consider adding these
blood-
pressure lowering herbs and spices
to your meals. Herbs
such as garlic and curcumin have been found effective in
lowering blood pressure.


Moreover, bearing down too hard when you have a bowel
movement often accompanies constipation. So,
solve the
constipation to avoid bearing down with these natural
remedies
.


Should you avoid endurance sports? We think the answer
here is that going to extremes is never a healthy choice. Yes,
continue to run. But do not engage in ultra marathons. Yes,
continue to bie but you don't have to train as if you're trying
to break Olympic records.


Doctors recommend 30 to 40 minutes of walking or other
aerobic exercise each day. That's all your body needs.
























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Foods That Lower Your Blood Pressure

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Sugar-The Disease Connection

Are Diet Sodas Bad for Your Health?

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/
Healing Foods Links /  Foods That Shrink Your Waist /
Foods That Lower Cholesterol/ VLDL-The Other Cholesterol/
Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure

Index of Articles on
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Snoring Linked to
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