Arrhythmia or dysrhythmia, are medically known terms for an irregular heartbeat. A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minutes. Heart rates over 100 are called tachyarrhythmias and heart rates that are slower are called bradyarrhythmias. Regular arrhythmias is caused by the following conditions:
- Heart muscle changes
- Artery disease
- Imbalances in the bloodstream
- Surgery after maths
- Irregular heart rhythms, even in healthy hearts
- Thyroid disease
Irregular Heartbeat is Temporary
An irregular heartbeat in women 45 and over, is considered a common menopausal symptom, caused by hormonal changes. Menopausal irregular heartbeat duration will vary for many women. Some women will stop experiencing irregular heartbeats after the beginning of menopause, usually when they are in their mid to late 50’s. Other women, unfortunately, will continue to experience slight flutters well into older age. During perimenopause, a decrease in ovarian estrogen is associated with an increase in heart rate, palpitations, and premature ventricular contractions (“PVCs”). Yet, women are to remember that this is a temporary “change of life,” which is normal and you’re not alone.
Estrogen and Irregular Heartbeat
During menopause cycles, estrogen is being studied as a key component in irregular heartbeats. A menopausal woman’s endocrine system produces estrogen, which vastly fluctuates and eventually stops, having a huge impact on the cardiovascular system. The lessening of estrogen levels results in an over stimulation of the sympathetic autonomic nervous system, which causes non-threatening irregular heartbeats and heart palpitations. Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats can happen anytime during the day or night. It can last a few seconds or episodes can occur for several minutes.
Symptoms and Sensations
Irregular heartbeat symptoms are:
- Fluttering in the chest
- Feeling like the heart has skipped a beat
- Pounding in the chest, throat, or neck that you feel like you can hear
- Increased pulse rate
- Rapid heartbeat
Sensations felt by irregular heartbeats are:
- Dizziness or a light whoozy feeling
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- Flushing of the skin
- Feelings of panic or anxiety
- Weakness / fatigue
Estrogen and Heart Changes
Good news for menopausal women, is that physicians are instrumental in researching and studying the many symptoms that women experience during menopause. Recent studies involving the cardiovascular system and its relationship to estrogen, which has revealed estrogen’s affect on the following body functions, especially during menopausal years:
- Metabolism and cholesterol changes
- Plasma levels of high and low density lipo-proteins (H/LDL)
- Changes in arterial cell walls
- A widening and constriction of coronary arteries
- Changes in the autonomic nervous system, which works to regulate heartbeat
Domestic Lifestyle Changes
To address irregular heartbeats in menopausal women, it is highly recommended that lifestyle changes and alternative medicines be used. Changes like reducing caffeine drinks can aid greatly in the reduction of heart palpitations. Other stimulants to avoid or reduce their intake, like alcohol and cigarettes, is also recommended. Small lifestyle changes go along way in reducing the intensity and the number of irregular heartbeats experienced during menopause. Alternative medicines are a safe, effective, and non-invasive method of risk free treatment during menopause. However, if nothing seems to work, ease your anxiety and make sure you make a doctor’s appointment to get to the root cause.
Many menopausal women also take specific herbal capsules and supplements to find relief from irregular heartbeats and other symptoms. Valerian is a herbal remedy that reduces anxiety that is a contributing actor to arrhythmia. Hawthorn or crataegus is a worldwide popular herb that is used exclusively for heart issues and can be taken orally. It is currently being used to help improve various heart functions, to combat cardiovascular disease, and to naturally keep cellular health working smoothly.
Dietary changes to include heart healthy foods is an important daily lifestyle change. Deliberately eating foods that will reduce irregular heartbeat during menopause is a healthy, life choice. At least most of the foods menopausal women should eat, should contain grains, whole grains, such as whole wheat breads, whole grain cereals, and brown rice. Delicious oily fish twice a week is a great option for heart protection. Omega-3 fatty acids greatly reduce irregular heartbeats and heart disease. Types of fish include salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, and herring. Potassium enriched fruits and vegetables are also a great heart protection food source. Adding nutrient rich nuts is a positive influence on irregular heartbeats, by reducing their occurrences. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios, are the types of nuts that are very beneficial because of the l-arginine compounds, which improves the health of the heart artery walls.
Understanding Irregular Heartbeats
All of a sudden, your heart is racing like it is going to jump out of your chest. You’re asking your family to take you to the ER. After an exam, you’re diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, and after the medical staff asks you your age, then it all becomes clear. This is normal! However, always refer with your physician and if an irregular heartbeat is due to menopause, get ready to make some mild lifestyle changes that will ease your anxieties and help you through the “change.”
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.