Friday, October 24, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2008 William, Community Member, asks

Q: High Blood Pressure Low Heart Rate

My friend has a extremely low resting heart rate sometimes as low as 35 averaging about 45. He is 43 years old 5' 7" and 215 lbs. Not an athlete. also his blood pressure is high I am not sure how high. What can be the cause of this?

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Answers (1)
Martin Cane, M.D., Health Pro
10/24/08 7:06pm



Thanks for your question.  The normal pulse rate for an adult is 60 - 100 beats per minute.  A few beats above or below is not significant as long as the person is not experiencing any symptoms.  In your friend's case, his pulse rate is entirely too low.  Though he is young, there is still a possibility that he may have a problem with his natural pacemaker of the heart, or he may be having an arrhythmia and you are not able to feel all of the heart beats while taking his pulse.  The arrhythmia could be something minor like early heart beats from the small chamber (PACs) or large chamber (PVCs), or something more serious like atrial fibrillation, an erratic rhythm originating in the small chamber of the heart, which requires medical attention.


Another possibility is a side effect of certain heart and blood pressure medications.


His pressure may be high because he has high blood pressure, or his system may be trying to compensate for the slow pulse rate by pumping his blood at a higher pressure.


In any case, it is clear that your friend must see a doctor as soon as possible to have an evaluation that should include a history, physical examination, and electrocardiogram.  Then his physician will be able to tell what the situation is, and determine what course of action, if any, is needed.


Should he have any symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, or passing out, he should go to an emergency room immediately.


I hope this has been helpful.


Martin Cane, M.D.

Jennifer, Community Member
9/ 9/09 5:13pm

Hello.  My father is having similar symptoms.  He is a 67 year old male who has had a sudden bout of extreme dizziness when he stood up quickly the other night.   The dizzyness persisted for two days so he finally went to the medical clinic near his home (my parents live in a small town in central Washington state) and they ran some tests.  His blood pressure was over 200 and his heart rate was 38.  This clinic wrote him a prescription for an additional blood pressure medication (he is already on one medication, sorry I don't know what) and then sent him out the door.  My mom and my dad both think it's just fine for him to go home, but I am very concerned.  His blood pressure dropped below 200 in response to the addiitonal medication, the high number is now down to 170 or so.  But he is still feeling very dizzy and his heart rate is still very low, around 40.


The clinic did not run an EKG or any kind of tests on his heart.   I am trying to talk them into going to the next biggest town to see a heart specialist, but they are saying they'll just wait and go to the clinic again on Friday.   What do you think?  I know it's hard to make recommendations based on an internet thread, but this seems a lot more serious than my parents seem willing to admit.

wooddestine, Community Member
10/ 2/09 10:34am

hi I'm 31 years old with high blood pressure that is under control,and much of the time my heart rate is only around 40-50 which is low because i'm obese.finally my new doctor noticed it and recommended a heart specialist.I was born and raised in a very small town and i would definately take him somewhere else.There has been alot of people die in my small hometown due to ignorant doctors and other medical proffessionals.Look up the term bracycardia.Good luck i still haven't made it to the specialist,too much money and no insurance

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By William, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/23/13, First Published: 10/24/08