Ectopic heartbeats develop due to heart rate irregularities that often result in additional heartbeats or skipped beats. This variation in heartbeats generally causes an irregular pulse that can be checked by a nurse or doctor. While most ectopic heartbeats are benign, some may be an indicator of a more serious heart condition, so speak with your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Despite their often benign nature, the symptoms of ectopic heartbeats can vary greatly. In some cases, you may experience no symptoms at all, finding out you have ectopic heartbeats only after an EKG is performed. For others, symptoms include heart palpitations, several thudding and strong heartbeats or feeling as if your heart has skipped a beat. In addition, you may notice an irregularity in your pulse as a direct result of your ectopic heartbeats. If the symptoms happen constantly throughout the day, consult your physician.
Some individuals suffering from ectopic heartbeats experience symptoms because of a lack of physical activity and exercise. If you are not exercising regularly, you are not elevating your heart rate. As a result, your blood flow may be reduced, resulting in complications that include ectopic heartbeats. Physical exercise, such as running, biking or swimming, can raise your heart rate and reduce some symptoms associated with ectopic heartbeats. In addition, exercise can help relieve stress, which is said to be a primary cause of ectopic heartbeats.
Stress reduction is a key combatant of ectopic heartbeats and the symptoms associated with this condition. Controlled breathing exercises, such as yoga and Pilates, can help reduce symptoms by controlling blood pressure levels and lowering your heart rate during stressful situations. Performing breathing exercises as a part of a strict daily routine can eliminate your ectopic heartbeat. In addition, limiting your caffeine intake as well as any excessive smoking or drinking will help reduce symptoms.
While most ectopic heartbeats are benign, it is important to have your doctor perform a full physical examination on your body if you are experiencing palpitations or irregular heartbeats. Two tests that might be performed include an echocardiogram and a coronary angiography. If the symptoms persist or get worse over time, return to your doctor for further testing. He might recommend a low-level heart medication that slows and stabilizes your heart rate.