High Blood Pressure Low Heart Rate


Asked by William

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?



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.