PVCs and Exercise

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Submitted by Dr T on December 16, 2012 – 10:23am

Question: 
I have PVCs when I am resting and exercising.  Over the last three years since the PVCs started I have become more sedentary, overweight and I am now sleeping 10-12 hours a night to reduce the PVCs when at work.  I sleep like the dead, when I used to be a 6 hours a night sleeper.  At work I sometimes end up panting when the PVCs do not stop.  I work in public and look like a freak, panting while sitting.  The PVCs come in streams for minutes at a time.  I am 45 years old.  My blood pressure and cholesterol are fine.  I had a stress test a few weeks ago and they informed me I am fine.  No heart disease, or valve problems.  No drugs on board yet, but I expect that is coming at my next Doctor’s visit.I find these PVCs painful, distracting, elevating my breathing rate so that I am panting etc.  My chest during the stress test was quite uncomfortable.  I could see the huge PVCs bumps below the line on the EKG.  Scary stuff.  My weight is drifting up and I am no longer fit.  I would like to start exercising again, like I did before the PCVs started.If I could exercise, I am sure I would feel better.  At various times I used to powerlift, run 5k events, cycle, cross country ski, play softball.  I stopped when my knees were sore from age and these PVCs hit around the same time putting me on the couch.  At this point, I go for a long walk and the PVCs welcome me when I get home and I need a nap.   Here is my question.  Can someone with this level of PVCs go back to running, or cycling?  Will weight lifting hurt my heart?  If I have perscription drugs on board, will I be able to run, cycle, weightlift?  What kind of fitness activity is safe when you have a lot of PVCs?  Dan

Hi Dan,
I am sure no doctor has ever told you to stop exercising, gain weight and sleep all night. You have a normal heart function. I have written about this many times before. Here is an updated version.

Thus, while these PVCs are an uncomfortable nuisance they are not dangerous in most patients with otherwise normal heart function. Once properly diagnosed, beta blockers are the best treatment to reduce the frequency to more tolerable levels.
Hope this helps,
Dr T

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