Chronic Disease Support/Management/CHF and low pulse.

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Question
My 95 y/o grandma has had well controlled CHF for several yrs now and doesn't take any meds. Last several wks her pulse has stayed under 40 bpm her BP is ethier hypo or hypertensive. SOB with activity and easily fatigued. Min. edema to lower legs, my question is how long can her heart and body maintain on such low HR? Grandma also suffers from dementia and has 24/7 care.  I've read all the information about what CHF is and how it progresses on this site and that is a great help! But haven't seen anything about low HR, no meds are wanted. Thank you.

Answer
Dear Kelly,

I am not a medical professional, so I am not even entirely sure I understand her situation.

It would seem difficult to say how long her heart and body can maintain such a low HR. People defy the odds and medical science all the time.

Some factors that could be contributing to the health changes. Has there been a change in her diet? Has she been ill? Changes in thyroid levels? Electrolyte imbalances? These things could contribute to a change in her health. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001211/#adam_000158.disease.prognos and http://www.emedicinehealth.com/bradycardia_slow_heart_rate-health/article_em.htm)

Since her heart rate is low and at times her blood pressure is too it makes sense that her lungs would be struggling and that she would have shortness of breath with activity and be easily fatigued. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/shortness-of-breath/basics/causes/sym-2005089)

Congestive heart failure seems to contribute to edema (http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/edema-overview).

I tried to find out the normal heart rate for a 95 year old female but I did not have much luck it seems like with obesity and heart disease concerns more of the focus is on high heart rates.

You mentioned that she has dementia which could complicate the situation if she is more stressed and agitated due to the dementia. But if she is more peaceful and just kind of in her own world it would seem that it could help her. I suspect a doctor cannot really answer your question because they do not want to worry you or upset your grandmother. But I think the other factor is it is hard to say because of individual differences it seems like daily there is some where proving medical science wrong.

Sorry I could not be of more help.

Best wishes.
Isabel

Chronic Disease Support/Management

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Isabel

Expertise

Dealing with and managing food intolerances, Celiac's, allergies, digestive problems, IBs, pain, headaches, TMJ, fibromyalgia, thyroid problems, blood sugar problems, hypoglycemia, auto-immune disease.

Experience

Living with chronic health problems.

Education/Credentials
I do not have a degree in a health field. I have read a lot and I have first hand experience with some conditions.

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