Ectopic beats and a fast heartbeat sensation

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Submitted by Dr T on May 24, 2011 – 3:01pm

I have a history of anxiety and at present, I am being treated for an overactive thyroid. During that time, I was suffering from ectopic beats and in some instances, palpitations. At present, my thyroid is under control and my anxiety is at bay. I am a 48 year old female and I exercise quite heavily. Recently, my ectopic beats have returned and I am very aware of my heart beat. The ectopic beats occur most days but usually when I’m lying down. Its not persistent and only happens for a second. I do notice if I lie in a strange position causes some fluttering, but as soon as I move, it stops. The other problem I am experiencing is…I am always aware of my heart beat. I don’t have an irregular beat, it doesn’t beat too fast or too slow and there’s no pounding/thumping in my chest….just the awareness of my heart. Is this also considered palpitations? During my anxiety era, my doctor ordered an ECG and I opted to do a stress test, which both were normal. That was about 9 years ago. Since my thyroid is now under control, my exercise regime has resumed its pattern. I run about 45 − 50 miles/week and I train 3/week at the gym. Could the increase in exercise cause my ectopic beats and heart beat sensitivity? Your response would be so appreciated. Thanking you for your most valuable time.

Re: Could the increase in exercise cause my ectopic beats and heart beat sensitivity?
I don’t know. However, you have had repeated cardiac exams all of which showed a normal function.
Thus, the thing to is to make sure nothing has changed. Contrary to what you think, I have blogged about palpitations and VT many times before. You can read more about that here:

Causes include :
1. A variety of underlying cardiac conditions, including coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, mitral valve prolapse, etc.
2. Abnormal levels of electrolytes (minerals) in the blood. Decreased potassium and/or magnesium are the most common associated abnormalities of electrolytes. Both may be caused by the use of diuretics (water pills), among other reasons.
3. There are unusual congenital (familial) causes of ventricular arrhythmias.
4. Abnormal conditions such as increased thyroid hormones, and others.
5. Toxins, including alcohol.
6. Stimulants such as
+ Caffeine Nicotine and/or Cocaine can cause serious ventricular arrhythmias.
+ Some over-the-counter medications and herbal/natural formulations contain important stimulants
7. Infection, inflammation or degeneration of the heart muscle.
8. Infections at other sites in the body.
9. They are often worse with lack of sleep, or stress.
10. There are also other causes.

The first thing to find out is whether your heart is healthy otherwise, so you need to have some blood tests (including Thyroid), an EKG and 24 hour monitoring. That will determine the basics.

You’ll find these are rather common complaints and most people don’t need treatment, only reassurance once their heart proves OK. Read these, get your tests done and come back if you still have questions for me,

Hope this helps,

Dr T

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