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Taking regular exercise program. Noticing heart palpitations and feels like beating harder. Is it related?

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Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist
Practicing since : 1983
Answered : 1337 Questions
I'm a 36 yr old female (5'5/about 155 lbs). Not as fit as I would like to be, but started a regular exercise program in March and have lost 15 pounds so far. Exercise after work is main source of activity - high stress, desk job - typically work 50+ hour weeks. Recently started noticing heart palpitatations - feels like my heart will skip a beat, almost feels like it "drops" sometimes (for lack of a better explanation). Sometimes feel like it is beating "harder". No real rhyme or reason to when. Not extremely frequent, but frequent enough that I am noticing. Wondering how concerned I need to be. This has been going on for about 2 months now. Also have periods where I am yawning to get a full breath. Not sure if that is related.
Posted Sun, 15 Sep 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 58 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Not serious but would recommend investigation.

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for using Healthcare Magic.
It is good that you are exercising and benefiting from your program. Despite your heart palpitations, you do not need to stop exercising.
I have a number of suggestions that may help you.
What you are experiencing with "dropped" beats may be exactly that. Your heart is intermittently missing a beat. The following beat is often stronger to compensate and this is what you sense as a palpitation. Alternatively, your heart may be adding a beat prematurely which can also be felt as a palpitation. These are not usually serious. Caffeine can be a cause of palpitations so I would suggest, if you take caffeinated drinks, you reduce your intake. Stress can also be a cause and you mention you have a high stress job. This may be more difficult to address.
As for investigation of your palpitations, as I mentioned, there are a number of different underlying heart rhythms that may produce palpitations and these would be diagnosed with heart tests. These would include an EKG at rest, a 24 hour EKG, a stress/exercise EKG and possibly an echo. Only then would a specific diagnosis be made. Therefore, I would suggest seeing your doctor to discuss these tests.
In the meantime, I suggest you continue your exercise.
I hope I have answered your questions. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr K A Pottinger,
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