Managing PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions)
Last updated: April 2023
One of the more frustrating things that comes with heart failure is PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions). They are little reminders that you have a heart condition. They seem to come and go when they want to, and one thing people try to figure out is how to control them. PVC’s probably won’t go away forever, but it would be nice if there was a way to make them less frequent. Here are a few tips on how to manage your body so that PVC’s are less frequent.
Take medication as prescribed
Taking your medication as prescribed can help manage PVCs, especially if you are on a beta-blocker. Some people may notice if you are late or forget to take your medication, your heart has some PVCs more frequently than normal. A lot of medications are used to help control the strength and rate of your heartbeat. These medications can help with those beats that cause a fluttery feeling in your chest.
Reducing or eliminating caffeine can also help with PVCs. This is one of the most commonly ingested stimulants and is a major contributor to those premature ventricular contractions. This is one of the hardest habits to break and can come with equally annoying withdrawal symptoms.
Like anything you want to quit, it’s best to do it slowly over time. Find something that will help you not drink as much caffeine and more water and non-caffeinated beverages. For me, I find that if I do a little something to get my heart rate up or sweat like a short workout will make it easier to drink water. Sometimes I have to force myself to drink more water or not have caffeine in the house. If you want to do it, you have to do whatever it takes to do it.
One factor that is sometimes out of our control is stress. Stress can be a big contributor to PVCs and will hopefully be something we can all reduce. It is impossible to eliminate, no matter how hard we try. Do everything you can to reduce stress or manage stress. It could be something as simple as deep breathing exercises or not entering a stressful situation.
Medical ablation as last resort
Lastly, if you find nothing you have tried works and you are bothered by PVCs regularly, speak with your doctor about a possible ablation. This would be a last resort option as it is an invasive procedure. However, this may be something you need and your doctor would possibly suggest if you brought this up at an appointment.
To shortly sum up an ablation, it is a procedure where your doctor figures out where your PVCs are origination from, and scars or destroys the tissue where the unwanted electrical signal is originating. A word of caution, these do come with risks and are not guaranteed to work.
Some more difficult than others
Hopefully, this helps all of you who are suffering from those annoying PVCs. Some of these are more difficult to control or change than others, but it should give you a good starting point. Also, speak with your doctor and ask them what they think you should do to help control them. Your doctor knows you best and should be able to give you other options or encourage one or more you have read here.
Besides heart failure, do you have any other chronic medical conditions?
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