Are Heart Palpitations During Menopause Normal?

Heart Palpitations During Menopause

Am I having a heart attack?

Sharon came into my office and before I could even ask her how she was, she burted out “Mickey…..I thought that I was going to die. My heart was beating so fast and so hard that it felt like it was going to break through my chest. I never experienced anything like that before. I have never been so scared”

Sharon had begun to experience hot flashes and night sweats a few months before. Now she asked are heart palpitations during menopause normal.

I asked her what she meant by normal. From what she said, it was clear that she really wanted to be assured that she wasnt having a heart attack.

I told her that several of my patients have had similar experienced. This appeared to calm her.

I then had her read several articles about women’s experiences during menopause and about common menopause symptoms.

Are Heart Palpitations During Menopause Normal?

She was reassured to discover that up to 40% of women experience heart palpitations during menopause, especially during perimenopause. Here is an excerpt from an article that seemed to reassure her the most

Irregular heartbeat is a common symptom experienced by women during the menopausal transition. This cardiovascular phenomenon is often prompted by changes in estrogen levels, which occur naturally as a woman approaches menopause.

While irregular heartbeat is often normal during this time, episodes are nevertheless sudden and alarming for many women.

Irregular heartbeat, known medically as heart palpitations or tachycardia, occurs when the heart beats faster or more forcefully than normal. This often gives a woman an unpleasant awareness of her own heart beat. She may feel as if her heart has skipped a beat or is pounding out of her chest.

The article goes on to say

During menopause, the most common cause of irregular heartbeat is fluctuations in estrogen levels.

As a woman approaches menopause, the levels of estrogen produced by her endocrine system fluctuate and eventually decline, which can have a significant effect on her cardiovascular system.

Still later in the article it says

Studies have found that declining levels in estrogen during perimenopause are correlated with irregular heartbeats, increased palpitation frequency, and non-threatening arrhythmias.

the full article

All of the symptoms of menopause are caused by changing and fluctuating levels of the hormones in your body. Like most of the other symptoms, heart palpitations during menopause is caused by declining estrogen levels….most of the time. However if you experience palpitations, it is important to eliminate other causes by having a medical examination.

Estrogen levels have a significant effect on the cardiovascular system. Estrogen, at its premenopause levels, helps to keep the heart healthy, by dilating the coronary arteries. During menopause, the arteries may become constricted when estrogen levels are low.

Also estrogen plays a role in stimulating the autonomic nervous system. It is probably most responsible for menopause heart palpitations, since it is the autonomic system that regulates all the “unconscious” functions such as heart rate and breathing.

I wouldnt say that heart palpitations during menopause are normal,but I would say that they are not uncommon.

If you ask me what can be done to reduce them, I recommend that you eliminate any intake of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco products and practice some form of relaxation like yoga or meditation.

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