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High Blood Pressure

Low pulse rate and dizziness

11/17/2008

Question:

I am 52 yrs. old and in good health though a little over weight. I have suffered for most of my life with bouts of dizziness that no doctor has been able to figure out. A few years ago my husband got a blood pressure/pulse rate monitor because of his hypertension and when I have had dizzy times, like today, I use his monitor and found that my blood pressure is 92/71 but my pulse is 48. The lowest it has ever been is 43. A few years ago a cardiologist found nothing wrong with my heart so I know that isn`t it. I have loved salty foods all my life and wonder if the salt really effects my pulse rate, does it drop this low because I need more salt? Is that a ridiculous thought? I have been on Nutisystem for 3 weeks and the food is very healthy and low sodium. The dizziness in completly incapacitating.

Answer:

It is difficult to give specific advice without having all the data.  However, a few points can be made:

Low blood pressure and slow heart rate can be caused by low thyroid function (hypothyroidism), dysfunction of the nervous system, or a disturbance of your heart's pacemaker. You will need a work-up for these conditions if it has not been done

High salt intake should do you no harm, and may be beneficial. Midodrine is a drug that can raise blood pressure and heart rate.  In some cases, midodrine has helped relieve symptoms such as lightheadedness or dizziness. 

For more information:

Go to the High Blood Pressure health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati