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Signs Your Heartbeat is Too Slow, Warns Mayo Clinic

Former Vice President Mike Pence recently had surgery to treat the condition.

On Thursday, Mike Pence's office announced that the former vice president had been fitted with a pacemaker, a device that helps the heart beat steadily. In 2016, Pence was found to have a slow heartbeat and diagnosed with a condition called left bundle branch block, an abnormality in the electrical impulses of the heart. Pence, 61, is expected to make a full recovery from the pacemaker implantation, which is a common procedure. But how common is the low heartbeat caused by bundle branch block, and how do you know if you have it? Here's what the experts at the Mayo Clinic say you should watch for. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss this urgent news: Here's How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.



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Bundle branch block doesn't cause symptoms in most people, so many with the condition don't know they have it, the Mayo Clinic says. One symptom that can occur is fainting (also known as syncope). If you've fainted, it's a good idea to consult your healthcare provider to rule out serious causes. 


Feeling Like You're About To Faint

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Some people with bundle branch block might feel like they're about to faint, which is known as presyncope. 


Risk factor: Abnormal Heart Rhythm

Patient complains of heart pain to a cardiologist doctor

A bundle branch block can affect the left or right sides of the heart, resulting in an abnormal heart rhythm. According to the Mayo Clinic, the causes of the bundle branch block differ depending on which side of the heart is affected. 

The left side may be affected because of high blood pressure, heart attack, an infection of the heart muscle, or a thickened, weakened or stiff heart muscle (a condition known as cardiomyopathy). 

The right side may be affected because of a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism), a heart attack, congenital heart defects, high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs, or an infection of the heart muscle.


Risk factor: Advancing Age

mature man having heart attack at home

Bundle branch block is more common in older people than in younger people. One study published in the Korean Journal of Internal Medicine found that 1.7% people over the age of 40, and 3.4% of people older than 65, had the condition.


Risk factor: Underlying Health Problems

checking blood pressure

"Having high blood pressure or heart disease increases your risk of having bundle branch block," says the Mayo Clinic.

If you have risk factors for, or are experiencing symptoms of, a low heartbeat, your healthcare provider can conduct tests to see if that's the case, to determine if any health problems are causing it, and to establish a treatment plan to correct any of those underlying causes if necessary. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael
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