Extrasystoles and the Heart: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies. I will start off by saying that the 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 may affect perfectly healthy children, adolescent, adults and older people without posing any health threat 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.
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. Up next, I want to share with you my personal experience in dealing 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 calm down, my heartbeat gets 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 cause for my extrasystoles is 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, this conditions started bothering me again. 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 extrasystole 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. Hard-core coffee drinkers are also at risk of experiencing extrasystoles (along with serious vitamin deficiencies). An excessive intake of sugar, honey and other similar sweeteners can cause heart rhythm abnormalities as well. 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. 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 day-to-day life. In the evening, before going to sleep, I like to drink a cup of herbal tea. My favorites are chamomile, hawthorn, lemon balm and passionflower because they relax me and the hotness of the tea makes me sleepy.
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.