Wendy & Casey, RD, CSSD, CEDRD-S
"Why is My Heart Rate Still Low if I am Weight Restored?"
"Why is my heart rate still low if I am weight restored?"
We see low heart rates all the time in patients who are weight restored - and this can be very confusing, frustrating, and upsetting. This can occur for variety of reasons:
❤️ Not eating regularly. We recommend eating every 2-3 hours. Large gaps of time between meals can slow down the metabolic rate (and decrease blood sugar, energy, hormones etc.)
🧡 Not be eating sufficiently (enough).
💛 An energy imbalance. This can be due to walking too much or exercising too much without covering for this energy expenditure. Are you taking the dog for longs walks and not eating enough to cover for that? Are you now playing sports? All of this requires more food (yes, even walking the dog 🐕🦺). The metabolism down-regulates, and the imbalance shows up in the vitals, even if the weight remains stable. It may not show up in the weight because the body will conserve energy, or "hibernate," turning off essential functions like how the heart is functioning. This leads to slowed pulse, lower blood pressure, and eventually loss of menstruation for biological females, and lower testosterone levels for biological males (among other consequences).
💚Another factor to consider is whether or not you REALLY are weight restored. If you are someone who lost a significant amount of weight, your body might not quite be where it needs to be yet to be thriving - even if your weight is now considered “normal” or “above normal.” Vital signs, hormones, and one’s relationship with food, are some of the ways we can tell how someone’s body is functioning better. Adolescents’ weights are known as “moving targets” since adolescents are still growing. A target weight from last year, is no longer valid this year - as teens are growing and bodies are changing.
💙 Check in with an MD for an assessment of your vitals. No, it's not okay or "normal" to have low heart rate (bradycardia is defined as < 60 bpm).
💜Check in with registered dietitian if you have concerns about your nutrition and energy balance.
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