In 1981 I was diagnosed with ventricular ectopic beats. After a lot of reassurance from my cardioligist I managed to cope with them for many years, running marathons and getting pretty fit. about 4 years ago I had an attack of atrial fibrillation which scared the life out of me. Around the same time I deveoped high blood pressure. I was then treated for the AF and the blood pressure and have to take flecainide for the AF. I have had a number of AF attacks in the interim but they tend to last about an hour and the cardioigist is not concerned.
However, in the last few weeks the ectopics have returned with a vengence and I have been put on Atenol, a beta blocker. This has helped although my ability to exercise is limited. I have found the frequency of the ectopics have decreased but they seem to feel different when I get them now. Before the beta blocker I could feel the missed beat and then the thump as the normal beat resumed. The gap between normal beats was pretty consistant. Now when I get one, the feeling is not as pronounced and the gap between beats is less, almost like I have missed a half beat! Unfortunately due to my problems with ectopics over many years and my running career I am VERY conscious of my heart beat and an expert at taking my own pulse. I am also quite anxious by nature so that doesnt help.
I now feel I am now just taking drugs to get me through this and not interested or able to exercise properly. The end result is that I am now pretty depressed about the whole thing. I am not sure whether it is an age thing (I am now 56) but my ability to cope seems to have lessened with time.
I know the doctor will tell me that everything is fine but somewhere in the back of my mind I am thinking that over 30 years of ectopic beats and AF cannot be good for my heart in the long run.