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.
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While most ectopic heartbeats are benign according to Medline Plus, some may be an indicator of a more serious heart condition, so speak with your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Symptoms of Ectopic Heartbeats
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 says Penn Medicine. 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.
Read more: 10 Simple Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy and Strong
Ectopic Heartbeat and Exercise
Some individuals with frequent ectopic beats 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.
Penn Medicine recommends cardio over weight lifting when you experience ectopic heartbeats. The stress of lifting can exacerbate the symptoms. And even better than cardio, yoga. Yoga can relieve the stress that's associated with ectopic heartbeats.
Read more: What Is a Good Exercise Heart Rate?
What You Can Do
Ectopic heartbeats are often caused by anxiety and stress according to Cleveland Clinic. Stress reduction is a key combatant of ectopic heartbeats and the symptoms associated with this condition.
Learning controlled breathing exercises such as those used during yoga and meditation — alternate nostril breath for example — 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. Stay away from energy drinks completely for their propensity to raise blood pressure and heart arrhythmia. It also wouldn't hurt to lose some weight if you're carrying more than you should be.
Read more: 25 of the Best Stress-Relief Techniques
Have It Checked Out
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 echo-cardiogram 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.