Heart Education
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What Does Low Heart Rate Mean on an Apple Watch ECG?

QALY Team
Understanding low heart rate on Apple Watch ECG

Key Takeaways

  • A Low Heart Rate result on your Apple Watch ECG isn't always a problem.
  • If you're experiencing some of the symptoms discussed in this article while having a Low Heart Rate result, contact your doctor.

When it comes to heart problems, the average population usually thinks of high heart rates where your heart is beating a mile a minute. While many heart problems stem from having a consistently high heart rate, it can be just as harmful to have a low heart rate as a high one.

What Does Low Heart Rate Mean on an Apple Watch ECG?

Low Heart Rate means your heart is beating less than 60 times per minute. If your Apple Watch ECG app shows Low Heart Rate, there's usually no reason for concern. However, this is sometimes a problem because every time your heart beats, it sends blood to various parts of your body. If you have a meager heart rate, not enough blood may be pumping to your body. Here are some possible reasons you might have a low heart rate:

  • You're on a medication that slows your heart down slightly
  • You're more relaxed than normal
  • You’re in great shape (low heart rate is often expected in athletes)
  • Your heart rate might be lower than 60 bpm while you're sleeping, which is common

Should You Be Worried If Your Apple Watch ECG Indicates Low Heart Rate?

In most situations, there's no reason for alarm if your heart rate is between 40 and 60 beats per minute. As mentioned, an ECG reading with a lower heart rate than 60 is very common for relaxed or physically fit individuals. However, to know whether or not a low heart rate is a problem, it's good to understand your average resting heart rate. If it's unusual for your average resting heart rate to be lower than 60, it could be an indicator of one of the following:

  • There’s a possible problem with your sinus node, which is essentially a natural pacemaker for your heart.
  • Your heart is damaged from a previous heart attack or disease, and not enough blood flows to it.
  • You have an electrolyte imbalance.
  • You have obstructive sleep apnea.
  • You accidentally took too many drugs or medications.
  • You have a chemical imbalance where you don't have enough potassium or calcium.

What Should You Do Next?

If you have a low heart rate every time you read the results of your Apple Watch ECG, there's likely nothing to worry about. However, if a low heart rate isn't normal for you and any of these symptoms accompany it, you may have a problem on your hands.

  • Pain in your chest
  • You're feeling confused or having trouble remembering things
  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded
  • You're feeling extra fatigued or more tired than usual
  • You feel like you're about to faint
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat accompany your low heart rate

Experiencing these symptoms and a low heart rate may indicate that your heart isn't pumping enough blood into your body. You may start feeling confused and tired when your brain isn't getting enough oxygen and blood flow. You may also feel dizzy and as if you're about to pass out.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to call emergency services. While it might be a false alarm and nothing to worry about, these may be signs of a developing stroke or blood clot.

How Can QALY Help With a Low Heart Rate Reading?

If your ECG reading keeps saying that you have a Low Heart Result, but you feel fine, likely nothing is wrong. However, to be sure, consider having your ECG examined by one of the health experts on the QALY app. Reading your own ECG is a good first step; however, if you need extra help, the pros at QALY are more than happy to interpret your ECGs within minutes. Try QALY for free today.

Sources

Bradycardia - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Apple Watch ECG app: What cardiologists want you to know - CNET

Take an ECG with the ECG app on Apple Watch - Apple Support

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