Gerry Green, 70, of Durham, had put up with a lack of energy for years, but in the last year, the problem became debilitating. “I’d gotten to where I would get up, have breakfast and then go back to bed for two hours,” he said. “I’d get up for lunch and then want another nap. My wife figured I was sleeping 16 hours a day.”
Green, a retired employee benefits consultant, wasn’t depressed and, aside from occasional headaches and dizziness, he felt fine—just worn out. At his yearly check-up last summer, his doctor discovered the reason for his unusual fatigue: Green had an abnormally low heart rate, called bradycardia, which can deprive the body’s organs and tissues of oxygen-rich blood. He also had an erratic heart rhythm, or arrhythmia.