Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is having an extra heartbeat a dangerous situation?"
I am 33 and have had this problem for years but seems to be getting worse over time. The doctor says it is not serious but I seem to give out quicker now when doing anything strenuous.
As we age, we tend to exercise less and have less capacity for strenous activity. This does not necessarily mean that you have a serious medical problem and rather is likely to represent deconditioning and aging. However, you should look out always for serious signs and symptoms of a heart problem. These would include: chest pain or shortness of breath with exercise, dizziness, prolonged palpitations, or passing out. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should see your doctor right away or go to the emergency room for evaluation. Generally having your heart 'skip a beat' or have an extra beat is not a problem. These are called premature contractions, and they are very common. Often, they can be brought out by stress and fatigue. Also they are worsened by stimulants like caffeine, and you may notice that you have more of them if you drink a lot of coffee. Occasionally, these extra beats can be a problem if they occur frequently enough, as they can cause symptoms or be a sign of a problem with the heart muscle. If you feel that the frequency of the beats is increasing, it is worthwhile seeing your cardiologist or primary care doctor for a good thorough evaluation.
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