Heart & Cardiology/PVCs and Exercise

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Question
QUESTION: Hi Doctor,

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

ANSWER: Hi Dan,
Please read my answer here:
http://www.cardiachealth.org/ca-blog/pvcs-and-exercise
Hope this helps,
Dr T
http://www.cardiachealth.org/

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Doctor T,

Sorry if I confused the issue with my frustration with gaining weight.  Like any weekend athlete who quits - I gained weight.  

Let me be more specific.  

Cardio exercise is very uncomfortable for me due to the PVC's during and after exercise.  

Some forms of weight lifting are not permitted for those with heart issues.  Powerlifting involves holding your breath, elevating blood pressure dramatically for short periods.  

What advice do you give someone like me with PVC's and exercise?  

Dan

Answer
Hi Dan,
Weight lifting is a poor aerobic exercise and has little practical purpose beside creating more muscle mass. Therefore it will not help you lose weight.
My advice: As I wrote before, most patients with PVCs and otherwise normal heart function, a normal EKG and echo donít need treatment, other than perhaps a beta blocker to reduce the frequency of PVCs, and are thus perfectly safe to exercise:
http://www.cardiachealth.org/exercise-pvcs
Dr T

Heart & Cardiology

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