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Arrhythmia and menopause

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On average, a woman’s heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute. However, there could be some abnormalities including a skipped heartbeat, faster heart rates or changes in the heart’s rhythm. If you too have experienced changes in your heart rate, try not to panic and immediately assume you’re developing heart disease.

Quite often, arrhythmia is just another symptom triggered by the menopause, specifically but the drop in oestrogen which can lead to heart palpations or an increased heart rate.

What is Arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is defined as “a medical condition in which the heart does not beat with a regular rhythm, or at the normal rate”.

The episodes of irregular heartbeat can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Your heart might be pounding or fluttering in your chest and your breathing might change.

What to do about your irregular heartbeat

1. Eliminate various factors that can cause arrhythmia

Menopausal women with arrhythmia should avoid smoking, and drinking coffee and strong tea. If the arrhythmia is caused by drugs, they need to stop taking this drug and find a better alternative after consulting their GP.

2. Regular aerobic exercises

Cardio makes your heart stronger. Anything which gets it pumping, from brisk walking, jogging, dancing and swimming is great for your muscles and joint health as well.

3. Ditch the stress

This one is quite obvious, but when you’re angry or anxious, your heart gets pumping. It’s important to schedule time each day to de-stress, slow down, meditate, do yoga, Pilates or anything else which helps you activate your parasympathetic nervous system will help you lessen the symptoms of an irregular heartbeat.

4. Watch what you eat

Try to remove or minimise anything with too much sugar, salt and spices that might trigger other symptoms too (night sweats, hot flushes). Eating a healthy balanced and drinking plenty of water will strengthen each part of your body, including your heart.

Foods good for your heart health include leafy green vegetables. Leafy green vegetables,  avocados, berries, beans, whole grains., fatty fish, nuts and dark chocolate.

5. Try herbal remedies

You can take herbal remedies such as valerian which helps with anxiety. Hawthorn (also known as Crataegus) is widely used for the heart specifically. Bear in mind, that herbs take 3-6 months to show a positive effect on your health so don’t expect immediate results. 

6. Drug therapy

If you’ve tried all alternative methods and nothing has helped, you can try using conventional medicine to stop or prevent an arrhythmia or control the rate of an arrhythmia after, of course, you’ve spoken with your GP.

7. Electrical therapy

Electrical therapy for arrhythmia has developed rapidly in recent years, including electrical cardioversion in emergencies. This treatment uses electricity to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm while you are anaesthetised or sedated.

Heart disease risk and menopause

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), women have a lower risk of being affected by coronary heart disease (CHD) before menopause. After the menopause has started, the risk of CHD increases and continues to rise.

As our oestrogen levels drop when we enter perimenopause, we are at a higher risk of heart disease. The drop affects the arteries in the heart, making them less elastic and pliable. So influencing the levels of oestrogen might help. You might get prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help relieve unpleasant symptoms in people who experience them.

Heart disease risk goes up for everyone as they get older. However, there is so much you can do to keep your heart healthy and safe. Make sure you keep your nutrition, exercise routine, water consumption and stress levels in check and speak to your GP as soon as you feel something might be off with your heart rate.

 

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Meg's Quote

If you are depressed,
you are living in the past.
If you are anxious,
you are living in the future.
If you are at peace,
you are living in the present.
– Lao Tzu –

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