Avatar universal

How fast can bradycardia occur???

Last week at the doctor's for a check up, my blood pressure was normal, heart rate 70 beats per minute, so he reduced my already-lowest-dose-for-a-pill BP medicine (lisinopril/hydrochlorthiazide ), with a recheck of my BP this week.

So this week, slightly higher (normal range) blood pressure but a heart rate at 44 beats per minute!!  

I'm 65, female, a Type 2 diabetic diagnosed 12 years ago and with blood glucose controlled for the past 12 years with only diet and exercise, I take 50 mg atenolol for PVC's due to mitral valve prolapse, and I take 40 mg of simvastatin.  My recent labs are all very much within normal limits. I've deliberately lost 50 lbs since last November.

The doc wasn't available at my followup BP appointment yesterday, but today, I cut my atenolol down to 25 mg/day--which is what I took when I was initially diagnosed way back in the early 1980s.  Today, taking my pulse at different times of the day and having taken only 25 mg of atenolol, my heart rate is between 48 and 50 beats per minute.

Can bradycardia occur this quickly???  

I do exercise, but don't believe I have the "heart of an athlete" so what else could be going on??

Thanks for any input!!!!!
5 Responses
612551 tn?1450022175
Some off the cuff stuff:
1) think you should talk with youi doctor about lowering your dose of Simvastatin, while not related to bradycardia there have been some troubling reposts (don't recall where) about high dose Simvastatin.  I was taking 20 mg now 10 mg for about a year.. that level still does what I need.
2) Beta blockers will lower HR, as you know.  A resting HR of 50 shouldn't be a problem if you can function, stand up without getting dizzy.... for example.
I'd consider stoping teh BB altogether, it is not doing anyting to cure you heart rhythm problem, and if you can live with the PVC, and get a more nomal and functional HR that could be your getter choice.  I think it is your choice... I take 25 mg atenolol twice a day but I take it specifically to lower my HR, and have a battle for it not to lower my blood pressurer too much.  The 25 mg dose was a down size to help me keep more normal BP.

I dont' understand the "quickly" part of your question.

Wishing you good health.
Avatar universal
Hi, Jerry,

Thanks for your input.  The "quickly" part of my question should have been rephrased to ask "Can bradycardia develop this quickly?" referencing that a week ago, my heart rate was 70, and then, 7 days later, it was in the low 40s. Thankfully, I have no other symptoms associated with this very slow heart rate.

Thanks for the suggestion to ask my doc about lowering my dose of simvastatin, too.

I really appreciate your quick reply!
612551 tn?1450022175
If the lower HR followed the start of a BB, that is most likely the reason, and yes, it would happen fast.

If the HR went low without any action you can identify as the cause, suggest you talk with your doctor about it.

A low HR absent probematic symptoms is a non-issue, unless there is a chance the heart will just stop.  I consider a HR as low as 40 to be a concern unless your doctor says it is alright in your case.  Remember, I am just a patient, not a doctor.
Avatar universal
Hi, Jerry,

Thanks for taking the time to write and share info with me.  It's good to use the collective input from us "patients" while we wait to hear test results or wait for a doctor's appointment.

I've had Type 2 Diabetes for the past 11 years, totally controlled by diet.  My last BG finger-prick test yesterday was 98, my recent A1C was 6.0.

I've taken a beta blocker since my early 30s, and I'm 65 now. I started out at 25 mg, then after a couple of decades I was having more PVCs, so it was increased to 50 mg with good results and a normal HR.   As of last Saturday (4 days ago), I'm taking 25 mg of atenolol and my HR is now in the 50s, sometimes the high 40s. I did walk up a hill today and when I got into the car, I checked my HR and it was 68 beats per minute. It quickly resolved down to 51.

Had an EKG today, am waiting to hear results from my doctor.

After consulting Dr. Google, now I'm concerned about silent ischemia--and how the heck can anyone tell if my heart will stop?!  Worrisome, I tell ya, worrisome!  I'd love the low HR to be a non-issue and I guess my doc may run more tests... for me and what's been "normal" for all these years, the low HR is definitely not normal.

Thanks again for your input.
Avatar universal
Hi sparkly oats, do you still see these messages? I would be so curious to see if you’ve found out any answers in the three years since you first posted on July 18, 2015. My situation has been like yours, word for word. My doctor cut down my  lisinopril for high blood pressure because it seems to have normalized on its own, and then my pulse dropped quickly. I would be so curious to see what you learned, because I’m 47 and they’re talking about a pacemaker due to bradycardia. Something is not adding up in my mind. I’d love your thoughts. Hope you’re well!
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