Extrasystoles and the Heart: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

I will start off by saying that the heart condition characterized by extrasystoles (premature heart beats) is not dangerous and is highly unlikely to pose any serious health problems. In simple words, an extrasystole is a premature or faster heart beat occurring in many absolutely healthy individuals. It is estimated that 1 in 2 people will experience the condition at one point in their lifetime. Extrasystoles improve and disappear completely with vitamin and mineral supplementation and lifestyle changes.

Extrasystoles may affect perfectly healthy children, adolescents, adults and older people without posing any health risks whatsoever. I first experienced extrasystoles about 15 years ago and, as you can see, I am still alive and happy today. I started noticing some irregularities in my heart beat when I was alone at home, laying in my bed. I also noticed that when I was in the company of other people, having a pleasant time, they disappeared like magic.

Extrasystoles

When you are laying in bed, just before falling asleep, and you feel like your heart is either skipping a beat or going a heartbeat too fast, it is natural to feel scared and think that maybe something is wrong. At first I was scared too and sought medical advice to calm my fears down. But the extrasystoles did not stop even after getting reassurance from my doctor that my heart was perfectly healthy. Eventually, I learnt how to manage them. Here is my personal experience about how I successfully dealt with extrasystoles.

What I learnt causes my extrasystoles: I noticed that hearing sudden, loud noises or being woken up unexpectedly from my sleep not only made me anxious, frightened or stressed, but also triggered my extrasystoles. When I would calm down, my heartbeat got back to normal. A scientific explanation for this is that the body, believing it is in imminent danger, reacts instinctively by increasing anxiety and stress levels, to prepare for an attack. Stress, anxiety, fear are emotions that may trigger extrasystoles by the negative impact they have on our body. But as soon as we calm down, extrasystoles stop too.

The causes for my extrasystoles were almost always stress and anxiety. For example, my favorite thing to do is go for a bike ride in the countryside where I live. Breathing fresh air and feeling the warm sun rays on my skin fully relaxes me. And although I sometimes rode my bike for miles, I never experienced extrasystoles. But when I started worrying about having to get up in the middle of the night to work, or stressing about how to pay my bills, the condition started bothering me again.

heart

Since I had went to my doctor for a thorough checkup, including an EKG (electrocardiogram), and found out I was perfectly healthy, I knew there couldn’t be something physically wrong with me. Almost 95% of extrasystoles cases occur as a result of stress and anxiety and are not caused by a physical problem of the heart.

Another cause for extrasystoles is smoking. According to statistics, smoking is the number 1 cause of cardiovascular disease, especially in men. Smoking also causes extrasystoles so giving up cigarettes will certainly improve the quality of your life. An excessive intake of sugar, honey and other similar sweeteners can cause heart rhythm abnormalities as well. Coffee drinkers are also at risk of experiencing extrasystoles as a result of the caffeine in coffee.

For some people, eating too much dark chocolate or cocoa or drinking excessive amounts of tea also causes extrasystoles. Dark chocolate, black coffee and green and black tea are powerful stimulants and some people are simply much too sensitive to them. Everyday tea and coffee contain stimulants such as theine and caffeine which excite the cardiovascular system and cause extrasystoles so drastically reducing your intake of coffee and tea will help you immensely. Read more about the side effects of drinking coffee and which is better: coffee or tea in the morning.

You might find this funny, but sometimes, when I feel the urge to pee and still hold it in a little bit more, I get extrasystoles. Moreover, not getting enough sleep might put your body into overdrive and cause extrasystoles, or even low blood pressure. So make sure you are not sleep-deprived.

Because I went through the same thing some of you are going through now, I wholeheartedly recommend that you go see your doctor and ask for an ECG or EKG test (an electrocardiogram). What happens during an EKG or ECG? A family doctor or cardiologist will place some small metal discs called electrodes on your chest, arms and legs (usually wrists and ankles). You just have to lie still on a bed for several minutes (5-10) while the machine to which the electrodes are attached measures your heart’s electrical activity. An EKG will simply confirm that your extrasystoles, and possibly other symptoms, are no reason for concern.

How I take care of my extrasystoles: Because extrasystoles are not an indication of any heart problem, I am against taking any medication. After all, I have a healthy heart. But I do have some tips to make extrasystoles more manageable so the condition doesn’t interfere with daily life. In the evening, before going to sleep, I like to drink a cup of herbal tea. My favorites are hawthorn, sea buckthorn tea, lemon balm, chamomile, passionflower because they relax me and the warmth of the tea makes me sleepy. These herbal teas are also natural herbal remedies for anxiety.

Keeping stress levels low is also very important for managing extrasystoles so make sure you do something you enjoy every now and then. Some people like cleaning the house when they are alone, others would enjoy a good comedy movie or listening to their favorite music. I like riding my bike in solitary places, where I am surrounded by trees, maybe lie down by the bed of a river and watch ducks or seagulls. Always keep in mind that life is beautiful and that you deserve to enjoy it and you will have no more troubles with extrasystoles.

53 Replies to “Extrasystoles and the Heart: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies”

  1. Omg! This is the first time i ever comment on any of these posts i read! But you? I had to! Thanks a mil !!!! Ive been having these palpitations for over 2 years now and i felt like i was dying! U made me feel like m not alone! And its perfectly normal. Haha. Agreed on everything u said. Thx

    • You’re welcome. I’m very happy you found the anwers and peace of mind you’ve been looking for, Loucyneh! And yes, you are not alone! Extrasystoles are almost always harmless and I’m sure that if you watch your stimulant foods and beverages intake (dark chocolate, black coffee, soda, green and black tea especially) and just take some time to relax and shake off some stress you will notice great improvements in your condition. Also, congratulations on staying informed. I wish you lots of health!

  2. You’ve no idea how much this post has helped me. I endure significant anxiety disorder and lately this ‘heart thing’ has had me pretty freaked out. So, I did some internet researching! As I learned about extrasystoles, including this post, it diminished at least one significant aspect of my anxieties. MANY THANKS.

    • I am really happy to hear the article helped you this much. Stress and anxiety seem to make everything worse. But just by knowing that your anxiety is triggering your extrasystoles you have more control over the situation and this should give you the confidence you need to better manage the situation and the problems that may arise with it. As they say, ‘knowledge is power’ and having knowledge about your condition, its symptoms and causes will empower you to deal with things better. I wish you only the best.

  3. Hi i’m doing a presentation tomorrow and i would have to know the effects and symptoms of extrasystole that would be great for me right now

  4. Hi there, I’ve had the odd extra systoles all my life, but they’ve become much worse in the past couple of years (I’m 59). I tried cutting down tea but it made no difference. I did a 48-hour EKG last year and the cardiologists said not to worry, but when I get a strong wave of it I don’t feel comfortable. I’ve started to notice that they get really bad about 15 minutes after I eat carbs. I rarely eat sugary foods but just crackers with a savoury topping or a quiche can trigger a bad run. Then they come so thick and fast they scare me – every second or fourth beat for a little while that really make my chest jump, even though I’m not stressed at all. Have you ever heard of this? I’m a vegetarian so cutting out carbs altogether isn’t terribly practical.

    • Hi, Gwen. First of all, I want to tell you that it was smart of you to go to the doctor to rule out other possible heart conditions. Now, considering that these heart-related symptoms appear 15 minutes after you have had a meal (and this is only a presupposition because I am not aware of your medical history), have you considered that you might be suffering from acid reflux? Maybe light foods don’t bother you, but sugary foods, especially those that are processed or baked goods might upset your stomach and cause acid reflux. Or you might have an innate sensitivity to some foods such as garlic, onions, bell peppers, pineapple, etc. Acid reflux symptoms can cause heart problems, such as tachycardia, skipped heart beats or extrasytoles along with symptoms such as dizziness, the feeling of lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting or a burning sensation in your throat, etc. My advice is to talk to your doctor about this. Also, ask him if you might have a hiatal hernia that is causing you this much trouble. You can also try to make a food diary and keep track of what you eat to see which foods in particular bother you (it might be some baked goods or dairy products, if you are a lacto vegetarian).
      At the same time, if you have a high dietary fiber intake, you are at risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Your body will most likely show symptoms of iron, B vitamins, potassium and magnesium deficiencies first. For instance, heart problems such as extrasystoles, might be caused by or worsen as a result of potassium, magnesium and B vitamins deficiencies. At the same time, if you have malabsorption problems (or problems absorbing some nutrients from foods), you are at risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well.
      As you can see, everything is connected. I strongly recommend you continue to manage your extrasystoles (no coffee, dark teas, dark chocolate, no smoking, less sugar or sweeteners and rest well). In addition to this, talk to your doctor about the possibility of having either acid reflux, hiatal hernia or malabsorption problems and ask him or her to check for potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Last but not least, it might be a good idea to go see a dietician and have him or her devise a diet plan suited to your body’s needs. See how this works too.
      Please keep me updated. Lots of health.

  5. Extrasystoles in a structurally abnormal heart mean life threatening. Not my case, made two echocardiograms and I have anormalias in my heart. However as I have extrasystoles are almost followed by sinus tachycardia, and that makes me feel bad because the pressure drops. And I have episodes of hypertension, and when I’m with hypertension I notice that extrasystoles end up being stimulated. I’ve been eating too much sodium lately, I think I’m with excess sodium, as the result of the last examination of sodium that I found that was in 144, and starting from 145 is already considered sodium excess disorder. Excess sodium causes hypertension, which ultimately stimulates the heart to have extrasystoles, beyond the anxiety I have. I have a device to measure pressure detecting extrasystoles and whenever I get nervous I measure it and the warning appears, and when I get nervous measuring actually the warning appears. So it connotes that many of the extrasystoles are caused by anxiety, to feel the pulse I feel extrasystole so nervous I am.

    • Hello, Rodrigo. It is true that extraystoles can be caused and worsened by stress, anxiety and bad dietary habits such as eating too much sodium or drinking too much sodas, coffee or caffeinated drinks. When my extrasystoles started getting worse, I took magnesium, potassium and B vitamin supplements, ate right, slept more and sort of made time for myself and it really worked for me because I started seeing improvements soon. That´s how I got rid of my extrasystoles.

  6. Great post Marius!
    I have the extrasystoles since 2009, in my worst time a holter detected around 300-400 in a day. I got in a hospital where they treated me with Propafenone (150 mg / 3 times a day), I was there for 2 days, and got out…immediately went and visited a cardiologist and he tried to change medication to bisoprolol, but it was causing more strong extrasystoles, so we went back to Propafenone which I had been taking since, in good times I only take 1 pill of 150 mg per day, and worse cases 2 pills per day.
    I am a sports guy so I do a lot of gym, and recently (August 2015) I started running and have been participating in some races, sometimes when I run fast above 165 bpm I feel sporadic extrasystoles which causes me anxiety, I noticed since I started running my anxiety level increased at the point that I have had a couple of panic attacks…..however, I refuse quitting and continue running but at much slower pace.
    Recently, and this is new from the last 2 weeks, my extrasystoles keeps appearing even with the propafenone, not in great scale, probably in the 100-200 per day. And now I do not know what to do, I don’t want to increase my medication…..
    I have had all kind of tests: electrocardiogram, echocardiography, stress test, holters, cardiac enzymes, thyroids, and everything have been normal.
    The cardiologist has also recommended me to start taking alprazolam 0.5 mg per day, but I refuse to start taking anxiolytics pills.

    • Hello, Luis. It´s great you had all those tests to rule out any potential physical abnormality. What I feel also helped me a lot was taking some quality magnesium, potassium and B vitamins supplements. I started seeing good results from the first two weeks, but it took about six months until my extraystoles stopped altogether. I went through ups and downs, and the sudden episodes of extrasystoles after periods of calm were very discouraging for me, making me quite anxious but I knew I just had to have patience and give my body time to respond to the changes I had made. I no longer experience extrasystoles, but I continue to take my vitamins, make time to relax, eat right and avoid stimulant foods and beverages. I am confident it will work out for you too so don´t give up and don´t give into your fears. What I always told myself to get me through was: this is not the end and everything will be alright.

  7. Thanks Marius!
    I can not take my supplementation as magnesium levels are borderline. I have to increase the consumption of water and stop eating cookies. I ate every biscuits and began to have high blood pressure and increased pvc. Industrial food is heavily loaded with preservatives, trans oils, sodium, sugar and this interferes with the extrasystoles situation.

    • Glad I could help, Rodrigo. All processed food is loaded with unhealthy compounds, particularly sodium. If you have been eating a lot of processed foods, chances are your high blood pressure came from them. Potassium is great at regulating blood pressure and counteracting the side effects of too much sodium. It´s hard to stay away from processed foods because they are made to taste really good. What I do is avoid to keep unhealthy foods in the house so I don´t get tempted to eat them. I keep only healthy, unprocessed snacks such as fresh, unsalted walnuts, almonds, fresh yogurt, bananas, dried figs and other dried fruits or aloe vera juices for when I feel like eating something good. What also helps me is to cook meals from scratch. This way I know what I am eating, I choose the ingredients to best suit my body´s needs and manage to stay away from all the bad stuff.

  8. Hi. For me it started a few years ago just like that. When I first had it, I was thinking it was caused by asthma but then I realized that no. When I sleep and I think of something and my heart beats faster I experience extrasystoles, even when I watch a horror movie and my heart starts beating I feel them and I hate that feeling. I always cought as a reflex. I took a blood test once and the doctor told me that my potassium level was very low, since potassium help muscles, cramps etc. I started eating more bananas, tomatoes etc. and taking some supplement of potassium. I see a big improvement. When I don’t eat enough pottassium I see that my extrasystoles are more frequent. For me it really worked. But it´s still a pretty scary feeling. I remember at first when I had them (like all the nights) I was afraid to go to sleep, I was almost crying, didn’t want to go to bed because I knew I would have multiple extrasystoles, but now it’s really better with potassium. And I’m really anxious (like all the time) so I’m sure it doesn’t help :) Thank you for your post Marius. It’s good to know that we are not alone :)

    • Hi, Alexandra. It was very smart of you to go the doctor to measure your potassium levels because you found out about a deficency that appears to contribute to your extrasystoles greatly. It might also help to measure your magnesium levels as well because while potassium regulates heart activity, blood pressure, heart rate, magnesium helps maintain the health of the heart muscle itself and support its ability to contract well. For me, it didn´t help to take only potassium. I took both potassium and magnesium supplements and it took some time until my extrasystoles disappeared completely, but it worked. And once you start seeing improvements, you will slowly start to forget the fear of getting extrasystoles and this might lead to you feeling less anxious about them. It’s a vicious circle, really, because extrasystoles stress and make us anxious and the stress and anxiety contribute to extrasystoles as well. But eating well, sleeping enough, taking time to relax, ensuring we have a sufficient intake of potassium and magnesium and avoiding foods and beverages that agitate help a lot. Also, remember that stress makes our body burn even more nutrients, potassium and magnesium included, so that´s why some people experience extrasystoles more frequently when they are stressed and anxious. So keep up the good work.

  9. Marius are you Romanian? Thank you for this post, I’ve been suffering from extrasystoles like crazy, they scare me so much sometimes. I went to the cardiologist and wanted to take meds as needed, but he couldnt find anything wrong with my heart. I do like dark chocolate like crazy, and love to drink tea, so I will try to cut back on those. I’m glad I found your post, I will def try chamomile tea, bless you!

    • Hi, Aneta. Yes, I am Romanian. I am very happy this post helped you. You did a wonderful thing by going to the cardiologist’s because now you know that your heart is physically fine and that you don’t need medication for your extrasystoles. Cutting back on dark chocolate and theine rich teas can help because they are both stimulants and may lead to extrasystoles. Switch to milder herbal infusions that relax instead of aggitate you and make time for yourself. As I said before, in my case, magnesium and potassium dietary supplements helped a great deal, but it might still take some time for the extrasystoles to completely disappear. It will get even better once you start getting over the fear of having them. Wishing you lots of health.

  10. Your post is very encouraging. I started feeling palpitations about 2 months ago, they appeared during times of stress once a week or so and then started appearing more often. It feels like you are aware of your heartbeats. When I started taking my pulse I noticed the heart kinda missing heartbeats.

    I went to the cardiologist, did ECG and Echocardiogram/Dopler. He said my heart looks just fine and the ‘missing a bit’ feeling is just extrasystoles, he told me it’s insignificant and I can go home.

    So I insisted I wanted a Holter test from him. He agreed to give me a 24 hours Holter test, which he didn’t think at first was needed.

    Guess what? The holter came back showing 6,400 extrasystoles in a 24h period!

    Doc changed his mind, said these are way too many extrasystoles and offered me to take a beta blocker which I don’t want to take. These have nasty side effects such as lowering blood pressure (my blood pressure is fine), lowering Metabolism by 4-8% (evidence shows slow weight gain), fatigue, depression. And I also have raynaud’s syndrome which it can aggravate. To summarize it’s a patch to mask a problem which creating others.

    I went to another doc he said wait another month and do another Holter no need to take meds if you don’t want but it wouldn’t hurt.

    Everybody’s saying extrasystoles are nothing to worry about but the first doc told me too many extrasystoles can stress the heart too much.

    I am very lean lean and in great physical shape and low body fat. I am already taking a lot of quality Magnesium supplement for a long time way before the extrasystoles issues. It doesn’t seem to affect it. I don’t take potassium supplement though.

    All foods are loaded with sodium, it would never hurt getting a potassium supplement to balance the sodium intake. What kind of potassium supplement are you taking?

    How many extrasystoles did you experience?

    Thanks

    • Hi, Ed. First of all, I think it might be best to share your concerns regarding the side effects of the beta blocker you have been prescribed and the health risks it may hold for you with your doctor. Your doctor needs to know about your choice and the reasons behind it so he or she can know how to advise you further on the matter. Secondly, I didn’t really want to know how many extrasystoles I had. What I can tell you is that I had good days, with occasional extrasystoles, and really bad days. At their worst, my extrasystoles were present night and day. I couldn’t eat or sleep and I had become extremely anxious, even a little depressed because I didn’t see any solution to my problem at the time. Because I couldn’t go on like that, I made serious changes in my diet and lifestyle. Coffee, alcoholic beverages, herbal teas rich in caffeine and theine, both stimulants (green tea, black tea, white tea, Oolong tea), dark chocolate, cocoa, caffeinated beverages, cigarette smoke, sleepless nights, fatigue, stress can all lead to extrasystoles. But making changes in my diet and lifestyle wasn’t enough to make my extrasystoles disappear completely. Only when I started taking a B complex, but most importantly potassium and magnesium dietary supplements did I see real improvements. Potassium is the one responsible for regulating heart contractions. I have been taking a Romanian brand called Aspacardin with potassium aspartate and magnesium aspartate, with 39 mg of potassium and 12 mg of magnesium per tablet. I take one first thing in the morning, another in the afternoon and a third before I sleep. Although I saw results in a week or two, it took several months for my extrasystoles to completely disappear. As you can see, my intake from dietary supplements isn’t extraordinary, but it’s the right amount for me. My advice is to talk to your doctor about you wanting to try an alternative solution (dietary supplements) before receiving a beta blocker. Ask your doctor if you can take magnesium, potassium and some B vitamins, but quality ones, for two weeks or a month. Check in with him or her regularly on your progress and see if you notice any improvements. Even when you are taking dietary supplements, remember to eat right, enjoy some peace and calm and make time to relax. Wishing you lots of health.

  11. Hello, first sorry for my English. I am facing extrasystoles for 5 years. Am so worried about it. I went to a doctor years ago and I did the echo and 24 hours holter test. He told me nothing there is nothing to worry about. Is there any other test I should do? I am not convinced and sometimes I feel my heart beat skipping every 2 seconds. And when I make effort I feel fast heart beat and hard respiration. Thanks for your help.

    • Hi, Ton. If you don’t feel satisfied with the tests, you can go to another doctor and redo them just to be sure. Usually, extrasystoles are not dangerous. However, they make you think something might be wrong with you and generate anxiety and stress which cause them to get even worse. I also suffered from extrasystoles and went through the same despair that you are going through now. I found it really helped to supplement with some quality magnesium and potassium every day and give up anything that had a stimulant effect (coffee or caffeinated beverages, sodas, cocoa, chocolate, green tea, white tea, black tea, oolong tea and so on). After taking magnesium and potassium for several weeks I started noticing some improvements: I did not experience as many extrasystoles as before and they were less intense. It took several months until they disappeared but I keep taking my minerals. As for the hard breathing, if your doctor tells you everything is fine, it might just be because you are not used to intense physical exercise (it takes time for the body to get used to effort). You should also get yourself a wrist blood pressure monitor to monitor your blood pressure. Again, potassium and magnesium work for basically any problem having to do with the cardiovascular system (but not physical defects) and your doctor should help you decide on some quality supplements suited for your needs. Just remember it will take time for changes to take place and the condition to improve. Wishing you lots of health.

  12. Hi Nice Post !
    My problem started 4-6 years ago. I was always healthy, sport guy. I was weight lifting from 16 year old, then stopped at 19. A few years back I took a trip to Holland. One night during that trip I tried several dangerous substances and after I woke up I had a panic attack. And from there things were history. I was panic sick for 3-4 years and treated with medication called Paroxetine, Clonazepam. I was worried, having extrasystole beats, skipped beats. Now the panic gone, no more medications for the last 2 years, but I’m still having extra beats. I’m muscular, never been fat, 180cm and 78-82 kg. Eating healthy, no dangerous medication, no cigarettes, nothing. I don’t even eat fast food, just chicken cooked in pan spray, fish, salads, low carb, low fat diet. So very balanced, I even calculate calories just as a bodybuilder. So I went to a private cardiologysts. I spent several hundreads for Ecg, Ultrasound and had every single test that was available! Came back no problem with my heart.
    What I learned is I have Athletic Heart syndrome. It means the heart muscle has grown because off all the training, same as the muscles all around the body, so I have a resting 115/60 bpm. Some have even lower. If you have low Bpm you might have athletic heart syndrome (grown heart). So I’m very upset. I don’t know what to do. I have had enough, I don’t wanna leave limited or scared when will I be dead. So tell me what to do mate. Thanks, sorry for English. I’m Hungarian.

    • Hi, Krisztian. From what you have told me, it appears you have developed Athletic Heart syndrome as a result of your intense weight lifting. Too much or too intense physical exercise can cause the heart to enlarge just like other muscles in the body become bigger as a result of exercise. Medical literature says that your condition is generally benign, so harmless. But there is a chance other heart conditions may imitate Athletic Heart syndrome (such as congenital heart defects). It’s great that you had all those tests done and have a diagnosis that clears out heart problems. My advice is to have some tests done regularly just to be sure that everything remains ok in the future. And if you haven’t told the cardiologist yet, my suggestion is to tell him or her about the substances you consumed in the past and about the medication you were prescribed for you anxiety and panic attacks. All of these can cause side effects such as heart fluttering, pounding heart, fast heartbeat and even extrasystoles. Moreover, medication for anxiety, panic attacks and depression can have a diuretic effect and cause you to lose electrolytes and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and others of crucial importance for cardiovascular health. It may be possible that your extrasystoles are caused by a magnesium deficiency for example.
      What helped me with my extrasystoles was taking magnesium and potassium dietary supplements every day. Over the course of a few months, my extrasystoles disappeared completely and now I take magnesium and potassium only every two or three days. Talk to a doctor about this and see if it helps you too.
      Also, ask your doctor how much physical exercise you can do. Since you have an enlarged heart, even though it is not caused by disease, it might be best to take it easy. It is possible for your doctor to tell you to refrain from intense physical activity and opt for moderate exercise such as walking to keep in shape. It’s also great that you are making good dietary choices. Fish, fruit and vegetable salads, chicken and an overall low-fat diet are important for cardiovascular health. I would also avoid salt because it works against magnesium and potassium, neutralizing their benefits. Lastly, research suggests your condition can be reversible, or at least partially reversible. It has been shown that the hearts of people with Athletic Heart syndrome can revert to their original size or at least reduce in size if the person stops exercising for a period of three months. Again, ask your doctor about this. Wishing you lots of health.

    • Also, it is possible your extrasystoles are caused by stomach acidity or acid reflux disease, even though you are eating healthy. You could have a hiatal hernia which would cause a part of the stomach to come up through an opening in the diaphragm and become situated in the chest cavity instead of the abdomen. This would lead to heartburn, acid reflux and even extrasystoles and shortness of breath. Your reflux can be asymptomatic so you might not even know you have it. You can have an endoscopy, a tube with a tiny camera on top that looks at your esophagus and stomach to see if you have a hiatal hernia.

  13. Thank you, very much. Very helpful article. 2 years ago i started having extrasystoles and i went to the doctor, they bring me through test and said i had nothing to worry about. But since couple days it started back and it’s really scary, i will try your advice and it’s a relief to hear from people living the same issue. Thanks for your time. You’re helping a lot of people.

    • Hello, Nacim. I am happy to hear you find the article useful. It’s great that you went to the doctor’s because it’s always best to have a professional see you and give you a professional opinion. I had been dealing with extrasystoles for very long until I could manage them, so, in my experience, it takes time for healthy habits to make a difference. So be patient and consistent and you’ll get to a point where it won’t be scary anymore. Wishing you lots of health and hope to hear good news from you.

  14. HI, I’ve been reading your website and am hoping that you might be able to give me some advice.

    I’m 71 years old, generally active and in good health, I eat sensibly and no longer smoke or drink alcohol. In February this year I had a medical, my first for seven years. Immediately after the ECG the doctor in charge of the clinic said he was concerned about the ECG print-out, and arranged for me to see a cardiologist a few days later.

    The cardiologist arranged a 24 hour Holter test and a stress test. As I used to be a smoker and my father died of heart problems he also arranged a cardiac scintigraphy. The results in general were excellent. The scintigraphy showed no damage to the heart or the surrounding blood vessels and in the stress test my performance was in the top 1 percentile for people of my age.

    However, the Holter test counted about 2000 isolated ventricular extrasystoles and a lot more super-ventricular extrasystoles. I have never felt any of these events, and the tests showed no pauses no arrhythmia or significant bradycardia. At every stage of the of the process I have been told that I can continue to live my life as normal.

    Nevertheless the cardiologist recommended treatment with 80 Mg of a beta-blocker twice a day, which he then lowered to 40 Mg once a day.

    I went on line to look at beta-blockers, and one of the first things I read is that they should not be subscribed to patients with low pulse rates. My rest pulse rate is at present 48, which I understand is very low for a person of my age, it appears to fluctuate somewhat, between 45-50.

    I’ve been taking the tablets for a month, during which the quality and quantity of my sleep has deteriorated seriously. I am sometimes so lethargic in the day that I can do almost nothing for an entire day, and I sometimes fall into deep sleep several times a day. I feel as if, on average I perhaps achieve half as much in a day as I used to, which is a major drop in the quality of my life. I feel I’m just not the person I was.

    I’ve been to see my GP, and he’s given me a letter to enable me to make an appointment with the cardiologist because he (the GP) quite understandably doesn’t feel he can take me off the medication himself. He also told me that it’s routine these days that anyone discharged from a cardiology department after a heart attack or a stroke is put on statins and a beta-blocker.

    In the meantime, having read your replies to other people, I’ve virtually stopped drinking coffee, I drank a lot of it, and I’ve started taking magnesium carbonate in the hope that I can thereby seriously reduce the number of extrasystoles, because I’m not sure that if, what I assume to be the side effects of the medication continue as they are, that I’m prepared to continue with the medication. (I won’t do this until I’ve talked face to face with the Cardiologist.)

    • Hello, Geoffrey. First of all, I am happy to hear your tests came out well. As for the extrasystoles, it appears they don’t indicate a heart pathology as long as the rest of your tests showed you enjoy good cardiovascular health. It is understandable the cardiologist prescribed medicines for you. My guess is it’s prophylactic, to prevent a potential cardiovascular event, considering your age and family history of heart disease. They can be prescribed for extrasystoles too because extrasystoles are regarded as a form of arrhythmia. Indeed, they have side effects such as causing sleeping problems or disturbed sleep. Just as worrisome, they can cause low heart rate and, considering yours is low (45-50 instead of 60), it may affect you. Since you feel this is not the right treatment approach for you, maybe you could talk to the cardiologist about an alternative approach. Of course, continue with the prescribed medication as recommended by the cardiologist until he tells you otherwise.

      As for the alternative approach, I can tell you some things about my experience with extrasystoles. I had had extrasystoles for years and some time ago they began bothering me a lot, although the doctor told me they were nothing to worry about. So I started taking potassium, magnesium and eventually a good B vitamin supplement and I think that in about 3 months or so they stopped completely. I continue to take my vitamins and minerals and have been feeling great, no extrasystoles. I am currently taking a dietary supplement with potassium aspartate and magnesium aspartate twice a day. You can talk to the cardiologist about trying to treat your extrasystoles with potassium and magnesium supplements. If the doctor agrees with the potassium and magnesium supplements but keeps you on beta-blockers as well, then ask him if the beta-blockers could interact with the supplements and how. Ask him if the medication can impact the absorption of the minerals and what would the best amount of potassium and magnesium be for you so you can still enjoy the benefits. Wishing you lots of health and hope to hear from you soon with news.

  15. Thank you Marius, that’s a very helpful response. I will let you know what happens after I’ve seen the cardiologist, and allowed the magnesium and caffeine-free regime time to do its work.
    Best wishes, Geoffrey.

    • If you haven’t seen a doctor by now, the best thing to do is make an appointment with a cardiologist and get a diagnosis. If it turns out to be extrasystoles, then the cardiologist will surely tell you to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. For example, give up coffee, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, sodas and quite smoking. Extrasystoles are also made worse by stress, so it is important to reduce your stress factors as well as get enough sleep at night. For me, taking vitamins and minerals helped treat my extrasystoles. I took potassium, magnesium and B vitamins supplements for more than 3 months. Talk to the doctor more about these aspects and see what he or she recommends to you. Wishing you lots of health.

  16. Hello. First of all I want to mention that I’m a healthy guy, basketball player. I don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol. I’m not fat: I’m 1.92 cm and I have 74 kilograms. Last week I was checking my pulse and it was like 70 beats per minute resting, my blood pressure is 120/80 which is normal. But in the last days I can feel extrasystoles especially when I’m resting. And if I think about them I get them. I got extrasystoles like 1 in 2 or 3 minutes. As I mentioned I only get them when I’m thinking of them. I was scared that I was gonna die. When I fall to sleep I don’t feel them but when I wake up and I start thinking of them I get them. Are they dangerous for my heart? What causes them? I think that stress can cause them in my case because I got a lot of stress in my life. Thank you! And sorry for my bad English! And I forgot to tell you that I’m 19 years old.

    • Hello, Bojan. Your weight, blood pressure and pulse are within a normal range, just as you observed. And know that extrasystoles are almost never a serious health issue. But, you still have to go to a cardiologist for an exam. It’s usually just an EKG that measures your heart readings to rule out possible anomalies, like an arrhythmia. If the cardiologist tells you your extrasystoles are not caused by anything, then they are not an issue. So please see a doctor first.

      Almost always extrasystoles are not something to worry about. It helps to identify what is causing them. Like is says in the article above, possible causes include:
      1) Stress.
      2) Anxiety.
      3) Magnesium and potassium deficiency.
      4) B group vitamins deficiency.
      5) Increased nutritional requirements in case of intense physical exercise or if you are still growing or your bones are still developing.

      Especially athletes like yourself are prone to magnesium deficiencies because you are always physically active and your muscles, including the heart, need plenty of magnesium to work properly. If the body uses it all, then muscle cramps, aches, tingling, numbness or extrasystoles can appear. The nervous system also uses a lot of magnesium. Stress and anxiety eat up magnesium reserves and can cause a deficiency which can then cause extrasystoles. So if you have been stressed for some time now, maybe with basketball, school or something else, it is possible you need more magnesium. You also need sufficient potassium because being physically active can use up potassium about as fast as magnesium (potassium is an electrolyte that helps conduct electrical impulses from nerves to muscles to coordinate movement so anyone that is always exercising or playing a sport needs to have enough of it too).

      When I first had extrasystoles I was extremely scared there was something wrong with my heart. And the more I got stressed and anxious over it, the more extrasystoles I had. I went to the doctor, had an EKG and found out my heart was physically healthy. For me, taking magnesium and potassium supplements and a good B vitamin supplement was the solution. It took 3 months, but my extrasystoles disappeared. You are young and likely perfectly healthy, so don’t worry too much. Make an appointment with a cardiologist first of all and have a test to check your heart. Then consider taking some quality magnesium, potassium and B vitamins supplements and see how you start feeling. Ask the doctor about this and see what amounts he or she recommends for you specifically. See new dietary intake guidelines to know how much of each nutrient is recommended for good health. Waiting to hear back from you with good news.

  17. Thanks for replying! Yesterday I ate 2 bananas at night before I went to sleep and after 2 hours I got 1 extrasystole per 15 minutes which is good for me. I saw improvements maybe because of the bananas? Today I woke up at 10:00 in the morning and from that time until now I got only 5 extrasystoles. Maybe from the bananas because they have Magnesium and Potassium or because I’m relaxed because all says that extrasystoles in healthy people are not dangerous. I don’t know what to say. But anyway I hope they will disappear. When I was younger I felt sometimes that something like moves in my left side of my chest, like 1 of my heartbeats was stronger. And after some time they disappeared, but now they are again here and I paid attention to them, maybe they will disappear again? Thank you!

    • Hi, Bojan. Bananas are a good food for extrasystoles. 100 g of raw banana contains:
      1) 358 mg of potassium
      2) 27 mg of magnesium

      An average person is told to get 4700 mg of potassium a day, so 100 g of banana gets you approximately 13% of your minimum recommended daily intake of potassium. Also, an average person should get 420 mg of magnesium a day and 100 g of banana provides 15.5% of the minimum recommended daily value of magnesium. So yes, bananas might have helped improve your extrasystoles condition.
      Magnesium is part of your bones, muscles (including heart) and nervous system (reduces anxiety, stress, good for depression, mood swings). You need potassium for blood pressure and for muscle health (potassium regulates muscular contractions and heartbeat).

      Other foods rich in magnesium and potassium and good for extrasystoles include: grains, beans, dried and fresh apricots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocado, almonds and other nuts and seeds, leafy greens like spinach, chard, dehydrated fruits, broccoli, milk and dairy, pumpkin seeds, cocoa and dark chocolate.
      But cocoa also contains theobromine and caffeine which stimulate both the nervous system (potentially causing insomnia, anxiety) and the heart (potentially causing extrasystoles, palpitations etc.) so eat in small amounts or avoid altogether if you feel it’s making you feel worse.

      Usually, extrasystoles in healthy people disappear when they reduce their stress levels and increase their intake of potassium and magnesium (some people also need more B vitamins too). But remember that intense physical exercise, sweating from exercising can make you lose more essential nutrients and increase your requirements, so it is possible you might need to supplement if diet alone doesn’t provide enough nutrients to stop the extrasystoles.

  18. Anyway, Monday I’ll go to the cardiologist to make ECG and blood test to see what causes my problem. I’m a bit afraid but I must be strong.

    • It’s great that you are going to the cardiologist. I am confident the test results will be alright. Like I said, it is possible your extrasystoles are caused by a potassium and magnesium deficiency, which is the most common cause in healthy people and reversible. You are a young and healthy person and shouldn’t have anything to worry about, but it’s great you are going to the doctor anyway. Looking to hear back from you after you get the results. If you have more questions then, feel free to ask.

  19. My home doctor told me that they are caused because I’m still growing and she saw my blood results, everything is ok but I must wait to Monday to make ECG. Doctor gave me Bedoxin 20mg. I’ts vitamin B tablets. So because I’m not thinking about my extrasystoles I do not feel them anymore and I’m relaxed. When I’ll get results from ECG I’ll tell you how they are. Thank you!

    • Hello, Bojan. It seems your doctor gave you vitamin B6 supplements, probably based on the blood test results and symptoms you have described. B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12) all have benefits for brain and nervous system health and can help keep you relaxed and reduce the side effects of stress, including arrhythmias like extrasystoles. B vitamins are good for digestion and help in the synthesis of neurotransmitters for the brain (especially B6) and absorption of other nutrients, which could improve a variety of conditions including extrasystoles. And now that you’ve had the blood tests and know you are healthy, it has made you more relaxed and improved your extrasystoles even more. You should feel even better after you have the EKG and see that you have a healthy heart too.
      Like the doctor told you, since you are still growing and are an active person (muscles consume lots of minerals and vitamins during exercise and you lose even more when you sweat), you probably have higher nutritional requirements and need some supplements to help give your body all the nutrients it needs. Waiting to hear from you after the EKG and wishing you lots of health.

  20. I did today ECHO on my heart and EKG. I did it at the best cardiologist here in my country. He said that my heart is super good and my heart valve is a little longer because I’m a tall person and I’m an athlete. Because I was afraid I had a little tachycardia, so he calmed me down and everything was ok. The doctor said that there are no worries and I must be calm. She noticed no extrasystoles in the echocardiogram and electrocardiogram. So now I’m relaxed and I’m not afraid anymore. And I’m finally sure that I’m healthy! Thank you for assisting me!

    • Hello, Bojan. I am so happy for you. Really, the whole point of going to the doctor and having the EKG and ECHO was to be sure you are healthy. And now that you have confirmation there is nothing wrong with your heart, your extrasystoles might stop altogether (if they were amplified by stress). If they don’t, you will know to address causes that are unrelated to your heart: stress, lack of sleep, B vitamin deficiency, magnesium deficiency and potassium deficiency. Remember, because you are an athlete, you might have higher requirements for certain vitamins and minerals (sweating and physical exercise cause you to lose more nutrients), but a good diet and some quality supplements might be everything you need to overcome any future extrasystoles. Wishing you lots of health and best of luck with you career!

  21. I am a retired GP from U.K. I am experiencing extrasystoles at random. I am a sports person and still walks 6-8 miles a week. Dropped beat does not give me any trouble but I become anxious whether I may have a stroke.
    I used to get dropped beat in the past after a while after doing a run on the road or exertional work, but used to get normal after a day. I am hypertensive and take ACE inhibitor and diuretics. But as the blood pressure was not satisfactory my doctor had added betablocker Bisoprolol and since I have started it I have noticed frequent dropped beat. Do you think Bisoprolol may be responsible?
    I had routine EKG two month ago and reported to be normal, My blood pressure is marginally better. I am also insulin diabetes and have good control.
    Please advise me. Do I need to see a cardiologist? I am 73 yeas old and still quite fit.
    Kind regards, M. Rahman.

    • Hello, Mr. Rahman. First of all, it’s always a good idea to see a cardiologist for anything heart-related that might bother you. If anything, it will put your mind at ease and save you the worry. This being said, it’s just as important to know yourself well so you can tell if something is not right and see a doctor in time.

      You say you are worried you may have a stroke. Extrasystoles alone are not considered a risk factor for stroke, but other medical conditions, especially cardiovascular ones can contribute to higher risks over time. For example, high blood pressure is known to increase the risk for stroke and aortic aneurysms. Seen that you are hypertensive and worry about the possibility of a stroke, it’s important to learn what symptoms to look for to get ahead of such an event if it ever occurs. Here are the most common symptoms of a stroke:

      1) Sudden weakness in the face muscles or feeling your face or part of it is numb. Example: if you try to smile, but only manage to smile with half of your face, the other half drooping.
      2) Arm or leg weakness. If you try to lift both arms up and one falls down because you lose muscle control or experience a sudden and extreme weakness, then it’s possible you are having a stroke. Both the arm and leg on one of the two sides of the body may be affected by weakness, numbness or sudden muscle rigidity.
      3) Speech problems. You suddenly cannot speak, utter nonsense or do not understand what other people are telling you.
      If you experience one or all three symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately or ask someone to get you medical help as soon as possible.
      Also check any serious leg, back or abdominal pain that occurs unexpectedly and apparently inexplicably.

      Considering you are hypertensive and diabetic, it is important to remember to avoid straining exercises. Normally, when you exercise, your blood pressure rises, but if you already have high blood pressure, it can be dangerous for it to rise even more. So while keeping active is healthy, some experts feel hypertensive people should avoid any physical activity that is too strenuous. Light physical exercise in the form of walking, stretching or simple yoga exercises, riding a bike or doing simple house chores should offer good levels of activity, keep muscles working with little strain on the cardiovascular system.

      Just as important, know that all medication comes with side effects and some medicines cause adverse reactions of the likes of the conditions they are meant to treat. For example, the beta-blocker you have been prescribed is said to produce side effects such as irregular heartbeat in the form of extraystoles, slow heart rate or complications such as ischemia or heart failure. It can further cause weight gain which could worsen diabetes symptoms over time. Other side effects include swelling from water retention which could contribute to high blood pressure. Diuretics may also cause loss of vital heart nutrients such as potassium and magnesium which could further accentuate your hypertension.

      Has your doctor recommended you supplement with potassium and magnesium for better blood pressure? Considering you are taking diuretics which accentuate nutritional deficiencies and seen that both nutrients are essential for good blood pressure and heart rhythm, you should make sure you get enough of both on a daily basis. The recommended daily intake of magnesium for an average adult on a 2000 kcal diet is 420 mg, while the recommended daily intake of potassium is 4700 mg a day. The minerals can be recommended as an adjuvant therapy for hypertensive individuals along with medication and can provide impressive benefits over time. You should talk to your cardiologist about the subject and figure out what the best intake is for you considering the specificity of your condition.

      Lastly, diet is crucial for cardiovascular and overall good health. Reducing salt intake considerably, eating at home and cooking your own meals from scratch, eating complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates, avoiding eating too much leafy green vegetables (they are best eaten in moderation because they are rich in vitamin K and vitamin K causes thicker blood and a higher risk for blood clots) are important aspects to consider. Also, avoid smoking, coffee, caffeinated beverages, green tea, black, white and oolong tea, energy drinks, alcohol and manage stress for better cardiovascular health. If you have any more questions, I am happy to answer them. Wishing you lots of health!

  22. Do I need an EKG and Echo? I had booked long holidays in end of Feb. 18 for New Zealand for a month. Do you think we can make it?
    Many thanks for your response. Kind regards, Rahman.

    • Hello, Mr. Rahman. I cannot give you medical advice or tell you to go on holiday or not. Only your doctor can make such recommendations based on knowledge of your medical history and assessments of your health. If you are feeling unwell or have been experiencing various symptoms that could indicate a cardiovascular pathology, then you need to see your doctor and decide together what you should do next, what tests you should have to better asses your condition etc. Knowing you have been experiencing extrasystoles and that they have gotten worse, you should talk to your doctor or, even better, a cardiologist about this and ask if there is reason for concern given you age, existing medical issues and medication you are on. See what the doctor says and, based on his or her professional opinion, decide your next steps. Make sure you tell the doctor any symptoms you have noticed, even if they may not appear important.

      What I can tell you though is how the EKG and Echo might help you. For example, knowing you are worried about a stroke, a stress echocardiogram (stress echo) could help assess heart wall movements in response to stress (physical stress from physical effort). An abnormality in wall movements could show if there is a risk for ischemia of the coronary arteries. Even a normal echo assesses the health of the major heart blood vessels and could identify blood clots, if there are any.

      An electrocardiogram (EKG) can identify any existing heart rhythm abnormalities, from extrasystoles to slow heart rate, abnormally fast heart rhythm or palpitations. While they may be harmless, they may also help predict the risks of various cardiovascular events. So having an EKG could help you know all of this. You can learn almost everything about your heart with these two tests, from structural abnormalities and defects to how it works overall. It could help to know that both the EKG and Echo are non-invasive tests, do not require any preparation at all and do not have side effects.
      Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health!

    • Hello, Catalin. Most cases of extrasystoles are benign and may allow one to practice various forms of physical exercise or different sports, from riding a bike to swimming, dancing or lifting weights.
      However, it’s recommended to see your doctor and have some tests done just to make sure your heart is healthy and there are no underlying health issues. Only your doctor can tell you for sure if and what types of physical exercise you can practice safely, based on results of the tests performed.

      Some people with mild extrasystoles can practice almost any sport, while others with more severe extrasystoles may limit themselves to lighter forms of physical exercise like walking, for example. But even with more severe extrasystoles (provided they are benign, meaning not caused by a physical problem), supplementing with dietary minerals like potassium, magnesium, taking B vitamins, vitamin C, drinking water, avoiding coffee, green tea, white tea, black tea, caffeinated beverages, energy drinks, alcohol, managing stress factors and resting sufficiently can help improve the condition tremendously. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health!

  23. Hello, Im from Brazil and I discovered my extra systoles one year ago, but it started so sudden, after a night that I drinked a lot of red wine, ate foundue and smoked, PS. I’m not a smoker, on next day I felt so bad and went to hospital with many extrasystoles and I spend until one month going and coming back from hospital many times, Im taking sotalol nowadays and my extrasystoles decreased a lot, all exams that I did show that I’m healthy, and I had other problem, as I started to feel the extrasystoles I thought that I could die, faced of this situation I developed panic syndrome that I treat today with Lexapro that I feel very good today, but even after one year past and taking Sotalol and Lexapro after some simple exercise on recovery time I feel many extrasystoles, but only in this condition, So I do many research about extrasystoles and I have never seen some case like mine, that after that night that I drunk and smoked and ate more than usual on next day started to feel extrasystoles and after one year I still have extrasystoles on recovery time after exercises.

    Do you know some cases like mine? What else do you recommend to me?

    I did many ECG, Holter 24h, echocardiogram, magnet resonance imaging, angiotomograph and everything shows a healthy heart.

    And 2 years ago before to start to feel extrasystoles I discovered that I have right blocked root, and I did electrophysiological study that showed a normal heart.

    • Hello, Rodrigo. What I can tell you from experience is that extrasystoles can manifest after a time of excesses, such as your heavy eating, drinking etc. from that night. My experience with extrasystoles was similar, as they started after a short period of excesses. It can be a year, a month or a day of any form of excess and that may be enough to bring on the extrasystoles. And it seems as if they come on too strong, too fast, too many all of a sudden. Naturally, it’s worrisome.

      In your case, that night constituted as a sort of trigger for extrasystoles, but likely was not the cause. As you may have read in the article, there are multiple extrasystoles causes and you may have building up on them for some time. For example, if you eat unhealthy, drink or smoke, have a magnesium deficiency, potassium deficiency, B vitamins deficiency, especially vitamin B6, suffer from anxiety or are going through a very stressful period in your life, then you have risk factors for extrasystoles.

      It’s good that you’ve had tests and learnt your heart is physically healthy. At this point, you need to start taking care of yourself. It is possible to get rid of extrasystoles. Here are some ways to improve them:
      1) Talk to your doctor about dietary supplements, especially potassium, magnesium, B vitamins (most importantly vitamin B6 and vitamin C. They have improved my extrasystoles incredibly from the first 2-3 weeks. Magnesium and vitamin B6 are also extremely important for anxiety and depression, two big causes of extrasystoles.
      2) Discuss with your doctor about how to introduce dietary supplements into your diet safely (so the medicines you are taking don’t interact with them).
      3) Start eating healthy: less salt, no processed foods, more food cooked at home from scratch. Make sure you eat a varied diet, but more plant based foods than animal foods.
      4) Drink plenty of water. Avoid coffee, caffeinated beverages, green tea, black tea, white tea, energy drinks, alcohol.
      5) If you like to exercise, avoid intense physical activity. This can act as a trigger for extrasystoles. Instead, opt for mild forms of physical exercise such as walking or riding a bike.
      6) Set up a sleeping schedule. Go to sleep at about the same hour every night and wake up at about the same hour every morning. Ideally, go to sleep before 11 p.m. Sleeping is essential for a healthy mind and a healthy body.
      7) Manage your stress factors.

      It’s important you understand that everything we eat, do, take is connected somehow and contributes to our health. For example, alcohol is bad for you because it dehydrates and depletes potassium, magnesium and B vitamins as well as reduces their absorption. It alone can encourage extrasystoles. The same is true for smoking which affects the heart massively over time (smoking is the main risk factor for heart disease). The medicines you are taking also have side effects, which is why it’s important to learn to have a good diet and a good life so you don’t need them anymore in the future. For example, many medicines causes the exact same diseases they are meant to treat.

      Lexapro can cause bleeding, electrolyte imbalance (which is bad for cardiovascular health) and especially cardiovascular problems like uneven heartbeats (extrasystoles included). Sotalol may cause heart rhythm imbalances, low heart rate, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating which leads to electrolyte imbalances and may accentuate extrasystoles too) and other side effects.
      And just as important, maintain a good relation with your doctor and go in for tests any time you may feel something is wrong.

      Extrasystoles take some time to clear and that’s normal. To my knowledge, dietary and lifestyle changes are the best ways to get rid of them if you have a healthy heart and no cardiovascular problems. And most important, don’t give up. It takes time for dietary and lifestyle changes, supplements to work and restore reserves in the body. If I can help you with anything else, please tell me. Wishing you lots of health, Rodrigo!

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