Guest Author - Tammy Elizabeth Southin
Your heart is racing as if you just ran a marathon, but you are just relaxing and watching your favorite TV show. Heart palpitations are another common symptom of menopause and peri-menopause, sending your heart into overdrive. They can be frightening but do not mean that you are having a heart attack. There are signs to look for to distinguish what heart palpitations are and why they occur.
What are heart palpitations?
Heart palpitations are when you feel that your heart is beating very rapidly, resulting in quick and rapid heartbeats. Your heart will beat more quickly than normal without any apparent direct cause such as a strenuous workout or very stressful and sudden event.
Menopause and heart palpitations
Many women report heart palpitations during menopause and peri-menopause. Those hormone levels that are all over the place can contribute to some women having rapid heartbeats. Additionally, going through the menopause or peri-menopause phase on top of the demands of daily living can greatly increase your chances of heart palpitations.
Symptoms of heart palpitations
You may notice that your heartbeats resemble one of the following scenarios. Heart palpitations can happen during periods of activity or they can strike when you are sitting or lying down:
*Very rapid and fluttering heartbeats, similar to what you would experience after a vigorous workout
*You feel as though your heart is beating in your throat
*Your heartbeats are ‘racing’ as if you have just had an incredible fright or moment of panic (for example, that not very comfortable feeling when you think/discover you have lost something very valuable such as a wallet)
*Heartbeats that seem to be more noticeable; you normally don’t really hear or feel your heat beating but palpitations may make you feel like your heart is pounding
Serious symptoms – time to see your doctor
If you experience any of the following symptoms, consult with your doctor immediately as these signs indicate a more serious heath condition:
*You feel dizziness or nausea
*Fainting or feeling as though you are about to faint
*Shortness of breath
*Pain or discomfort in the chest; a feeling of pressure or squeezing
Home treatments for heart palpitations:
For heart palpitations associated with menopause or peri-menopause there are things you can do to recognize and help reduce heart palpitations:
*Eliminate stress, easier said than done, but essential for your well being during this time. Heart palpitations occur more frequently when you are stressed out. Try to incorporate yoga, tai chi, or meditation into your routine. Even just a few minutes a day can achieve results. Or learn some deep breathing techniques that can be done anywhere, even at work or when traveling.
*Cut down on caffeine and other stimulants. Coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola drinks all contain caffeine that provides a very quick and illusionary boost of energy. Caffeine increases your heart rate which in turn can make you feel more anxious.
Can’t face giving up your habit just yet? Try the rule of halves by switching some of your fixes: if you normally drink six cups of coffee a day, try alternating every second cup with a decaf option, juice, or water.
Note going cold turkey can be done but will lead to some caffeine withdrawal headaches. By cutting down gradually you can wean yourself off the caffeine habit and discover some new favorites.
Heart palpitations do not automatically mean a heart attack or that something is terribly wrong. Monitor your daily routine and healthcare regimen to find ways to deal with those rapid heat beats. Managing stress, eating a balanced diet, and exercising can help you become more heart healthy.
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You