What Causes Heart Palpitations
At midlife our hearts and bodies often become increasingly sensitive to those things that dont serve us, including caffeine, refined carbohydrates, aspartame, alcohol, or monosodium glutamate, all of which may overstimulate our hearts. You also might need to avoid scary, violent, or emotionally draining news, movies, books, or individuals. Your heart may also be telling you its time to pay attention to your deepest desires or what your heart is longing to express.
The following letter from Terri, one of my e-letter subscribers, is typical of how midlife heart palpitations are often present.
I am a forty-eight-year-old female with no major health problems. I do not take any prescription medicine. I walk five times a week and go to the gym about twice a week to do some light weight lifting. My periods are still fairly regular. I have a fairly healthy diet, although it could be better. I drink about a cup of coffee a day, but usually dont drink soft drinks. About a month ago, after a fatty fast-food meal and a large cup of coffee in the early evening, I started experiencing heart irregularities. I felt like my heart was skipping a beat and was going to beat out of my chest!
I would really like to avoid taking heart medications. However, these heart palpitations can interrupt my sleep and are very uncomfortable. Are these palpitations hormonally related?
Adapted with permission fromThe Wisdom of Menopause .
Heart Palpitations Symptoms In Women And Should I Be Worried
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Have you ever experienced heart palpitations? Ive never experienced it, but my older sister did. She was alone when her heart unexpectedly started pounding and wouldnt slow down. She got so scared that she had to call the ambulance for help. Better safe than sorry, right?
Of course, youd be frightened when your heart suddenly flutters for no apparent reason. I certainly would! My sister stayed at the hospital for a few hours for observation. Her heartbeat did go down and the result came out fine. Its good to know why this happens so you can prepare if it happens to you.
I know a lot of women out there are experiencing the same symptom. Let´s talk about what heart palpitations are, the causes of heart palpitations in menopause and what can be done to ease them!
How Does The Menopause Impact Your Heart Health
The role of oestrogen isnt just limited to female reproductive health it has countless other responsibilities throughout the body, supporting bone, brain, skin, blood vessels and heart health . So, when oestrogen drops as it begins to do in the perimenopause naturally, there will be an impact on your heart and cardiovascular system.
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Menopause And Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitations can freak you out. However, we have some answers as to why this happens during menopause.
Most of us have a nice steady heartbeat that only rises with exercise, excitement, fear, or when we fall in love. But women whore making the transition from their childbearing years into post-menopause often find themselves with a loud racing heartbeat or skipping heartbeats that arise from nowhere.
When that happens, your first thought may be, Im having a heart attack! But if you have a hormone imbalance associated with menopause, then this is par for the course. In most cases, heart palpitations arent cause for concern and will go away on their own.
However, in some women, heart palpitations may be caused by an underlying heart condition.
What can you do about menopause and heart palpitations?
Exercise Moderately At Least Two And A Half Hours Each Week
If youd rather go hard, you can get the same heart-healthy benefits with 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Exercise intensity is unique to you. Exercise thats moderate intensity for you may be vigorous for someone else. Moderate exercise should feel somewhat difficult, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. Vigorous exercise should feel very challenging and youll only be able to get a few words out at a time between breaths.
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It Skips A Beat Slows Down And The Next Thing You Know Its Racing Away Its Not The Music Thats Off
While checking with your doctor is a good idea, keep in mind that menopause may very well be the culprit, and heres why.
As a woman, your heart beats anywhere from 60 to 100 times a minute. During menopause, your heart can sometimes skip a beat or a whole measure, or even change tempo. If it happens, you should consult a doctor immediately. After all, in Canada, heart disease is one of the main causes of death in women. Luckily, in most cases, its just a symptom of menopause.
What Can I Do To Stop These Palpitations
Typically, reduced estrogen levels cause irregular heartbeats in menopausal women. For instance, we believe in treating this symptom using natural methods.
Most importantly, we tailor the best course of treatment to the individual. For example, our treatment may include bio-identical hormone replacement therapy combined with lifestyle changes.
For example, BHRT uses bio-identical hormones derived from natural, plant-based hormones to bring your hormone levels back into balance. Increasing your estrogen levels may solve your menopausal problems, including heart palpitations.
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What Influences Appetite And Weight
When Estrogen Drops, Hunger Increases
A decrease in estrogen levels during a womans monthly cycle may trigger mood changes in some women. Some females may reach for comfort foods that are high in fat, calories, sugar, and salt in an effort to feel better. Sadly, eating these foods backfires and makes women feel worse. Sodium increases water retention and bloating. Sugar, excess fat and calories will lead you to pack on the pounds. Falling estrogen levels also affect leptin, a hormone that inhibits hunger. Combat hormonal weight gain by adopting a healthy diet and exercise plan. Stick to lean meats, healthy fats, complex carbs, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables to help prevent PMS and encourage healthy blood sugar levels and weight loss.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Heart Problems During And After Menopause
There are specific steps you can take before, during, and after menopause to reduce your risk of heart disease. These include:
Hormone replacement therapy or more specifically, menopausal hormone therapy may help reduce heart disease risk if its given at the right time in a womans life. However, the American Heart Association does not recommend taking MHT just to improve heart health, since studies dont yet support it being used for this reason.
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Is There A Connection Between Estrogen And Heart Disease
Yes. There is a relationship between estrogen and heart disease but its not fully understood. We know that estrogen has a beneficial effect on the arteries by helping keep them flexible . We know that estrogen affects cholesterol and blood sugar levels. And we know that the decrease in estrogen during menopause is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Your Health Questions Answered
- Answered by: Dr Roger HendersonAnswered: 14/10/2021
Yes. The hormone oestrogen offers some protection against coronary artery disease. It helps to control your cholesterol levels and so reduces the risk of fatty plaques building up inside the artery walls, reducing the risk of a heart attack. During and after the menopause, you gradually produce less oestrogen than previously, so this increases the risk of your coronary arteries narrowing whereas it previously protected the lining of your artery walls. This increases your risk of developing heart disease, or a circulatory condition such as stroke.
Estrogen Levels May Lead To Other Health Effects That Increase Your Risk For Cardiovascular Disease
Low estrogen can also work more insidiously to affect your heart health. Hormone changes can increase your risk for conditions that also increase your risk for cardiovascular risk. For example, low estrogen levels have been linked to increased insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for developing diabetes. Diabetes is another risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Additionally, estrogen affects how your body distributes fat. Declining estrogen often leads to weight gain and increased visceral fat during menopause. This affects your health in many ways, one of which is putting extra stress on your heart. Therefore, estrogen also has other, more indirect impacts on your heart health. However, estrogen replacement therapy may help reduce these risks and help relieve menopause symptoms.
Learn Stress Management Tips
Stress is a major trigger for heart palpitations at any age and phase of life. During menopause, stress is increased not only by the many discomforts that can arise but also by hormonal fluctuations.
This makes stress management vitally important to support heart health. Breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, massage, guided visualizations and other tools can all help naturally lower stress levels.
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Women’s Heart Team Approach
Virginia Heart is a physician led practice who sub-specialize in every area of the heart. Your physician works cohesively as a team with many other physicians within Virginia Heart and with nationally and locally recognized physicians. Virginia Heart puts a priority on quality and compassionate care for all of our patients. With this focus, your physician works as a multi-disciplinary team with oncologists, maternal fetal medicine specials, ObGyns and other specialists to provide you with the best care.
Tips For Managing Hot Flashes
- Dress in layers, so you can remove clothes as needed.
- Wear natural fabrics, such as cotton and silk.
- Keep the room temperature cool or use a fan. You’re more likely to have a hot flash in a warm environment than in a cool one.
- Sleep with fewer blankets.
- Drink cold beverages rather than hot ones.
- Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals to avoid the heat generated by digesting large amounts of food.
- Do not smoke.
- Use relaxation techniques, such as breathing-for-relaxation exercises or meditation, yoga, and biofeedback.
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Not All Menopausal Symptoms Are The Same In Terms Of Risk Or Discomfort
And although no menopause symptom can be considered unimportant, heart palpitations can be particularly concerning as they could possibly signal a more serious underlying health issue. Menopausal palpitations are described as loud, racing, or skipped heart beats, flip-flops, fluttering, or pounding that occurs with or without dizziness or lightheadedness.
Palpitations are not only quite common, but also underdiagnosed and understudied when Ive talked to some of my colleagues about heart palpitations, theyve been a little bit shocked about what we still dont know, says , associate dean of research at Indiana University School of Nursing in Indianapolis and lead author of a study that examines heart palpitations. Its not clear why they happen, we dont know if theyre associated with EKG changes, and we dont know if they increase womens risk for cardiovascular disease, says Dr. Carpenter.
An electrocardiogram or EKG is a test that measures the electrical signals in your heart to check for signs of heart disease.
Heart Palpitations In Perimenopause
Heart palpitations are another fairly common symptom of menopause, most frequently occurring during the perimenopause. Though usually harmless and short-lived, heart palpitations can still be unpleasant and concerning. You may feel your heart fluttering, skip a beat, or start racing for no apparent reason. Sometimes, the pounding sensation can radiate up to your neck and throat.Several factors can cause heart palpitations at this stage, including:
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Are There Herbal Remedies To Help Me
Many menopausal women find that taking herbal remedies alongside implementing home remedies offers relief from their symptoms.
Crataegus or Hawthorn, is one of the most widely used herbs for the heart. However, it is important to remember that this remedy can take 3 to 6 months to begin to take effect so is not an instant cure.
Other Related Symptoms Of Menopause
Because heart palpitations can make it seem as though your heart is beating faster than usual, skipping a beat or fluttering, it is normal to feel a sense of panic as these palpitations arise. There is no need to worry, and there is plenty of support to ensure that you can manage these changes in your body.
It is also essential that you are aware of the other menopause symptoms, along with heart palpitations, that women experiencing menopause can also experience including
- Hot flushes or sweating
Symptoms Of Heart Disease In Women
Both men and women have a higher risk for heart disease as they age. While you may think some symptoms are just a normal part of aging, its important to talk to your doctor if you have:
- Shortness of breath
- Fluttering in the chest
- Fatigue, or feeling very tired
- Swelling in your feet or ankles
And, the symptoms of a heart attack can be different for women than they are for men. While most women will have chest pain, arm pain, or shortness of breath, other symptoms may be mild and can include:
- Pressure or pain in the chest that comes and goes
Perimenopause Heart Palpitations: Underlying Causes And Treatment Options
Have you been experiencing an irregular heartbeat? Then perimenopause heart palpitations could be to blame. Here, Flo uncovers the source of the problem and how to deal with it.
Generally speaking, a heart palpitation is a pounding, fluttering, or fast heartbeat triggered by a number of potential factors. They include stress, exercise, medication, or in rare cases, an underlying medical condition.
When youre having heart palpitations, you may feel as if your heart is:
- Fluttering rapidly
Perimenopause heart palpitations can sometimes be felt in your neck, throat, or chest, and occur when youre either at rest or engaged in physical activity.
Fortunately, heart palpitations are usually harmless. In certain cases, however, they might point to a more serious condition, such as arrhythmia which requires treatment. As such, its important to discuss perimenopause heart palpitations with your doctor.
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What Causes Palpitations During Period
Palpitations occur frequently in women at all ages, especially during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and during the perimenopausal period. Palpitations during the perimenopausal period are usually benign and seem to be related to the increased sympathetic activity caused by the menopause.
Menopause And Cardiovascular Disease
In many women, the risk of heart disease significantly increases after the menopause . The diminishing levels of oestrogen may increase the narrowing of the coronary arteries, thereby, allowing for a build-up for plaque. Although women are likely to first present with heart disease ten years after men, research shows that heart disease is still the leading cause of mortality in postmenopausal women .
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Could Low Estrogen Put Your Heart At Risk
Approximately 290,000 women die each year in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease. This makes cardiovascular disease the leading killer of women. What most dont realize is that low estrogen could play a role in your risk for cardiovascular diseases. Women have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease during and after menopause, which may be due to declining estrogen levels in the body.
Low estrogen could put extra stress on your heart. Take care of your heart health during menopause.
Can Hormonal Changes Cause Palpitations
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What causes intermittent heart palpitations? Common causes include: Strong emotional responses, such as stress, anxiety or panic attacks. Depression. Strenuous exercise. Stimulants, including caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines, and cold and cough medications that contain pseudoephedrine. Fever. Hormone changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.
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Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Impact My Risk Of Heart Disease
Hormone replacement therapy and heart-related dangers have been the subject of many studies. There are indications of some possible benefits, depending on your age.
Women who became menopausal less than 10 years before starting HRT have no increased risk of a heart attack. The same holds true for those who were between the ages of 50 and 59 while taking it.
Younger women also show no risk and may even find their risks lowered. Still, women over the age of 60 or who became menopausal more than 10 years ago, could have a slightly increased risk of a heart attack.
How To Overcome Problems With Heart Palpitations And Menopause
The usual treatment of menopausal women suffering from palpitations is a combination of lifestyle changes and other natural treatments.
If palpitations are troublesome and quite intrusive, using medications might be necessary. Beta-blockers are the most effective drugs in this case. The dosage and the frequency that they have to be taken must be specified by the doctor.
Given that menopausal palpations are a result of the fluctuating levels of hormones , the hormone therapy will help on the matter.
The common natural therapy that is used to cure menopausal palpitations includes plants such as motherwort, black cohosh, hawthorn and linseeds.
The lifestyle changes that can help in reducing the menopausal palpations are as following:
1. Reducing the intake of caffeine
2. Limiting the consumption of stimulants, cigarette and alcohol.
3. Practicing yoga, breathing exercise and other relaxing techniques.
4. Wearing loose-fitting clothes.
It is important to discuss with the doctor before deciding to undergo one of the aforementioned therapies.
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