Menopause and Arrhythmia Risk
During menstruation, women see their hormonal levels – estrogen and progesterone – fluctuate over the course of a month. However, as women enter the perimenopausal and menopausal phase of their lives, their hormones change significantly. It is for that reason and its consequences that most women dread the onset of menopause including the hot flashes and other symptoms that go along with it.
Menopause in and of itself is not a cause of heart disease, however menopausal women are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias, and this is due, at least in part, to the before mentioned hormonal changes. Estrogen is protective of some arrhythmias and as the estrogen levels fall, the risk for heart palpitations and irregular heartbeats increases.
The dangers of minimizing heart issues as just menopause
We know surprisingly little about the correlation between cardiac arrhythmias and menopause. However, with experience and simple deductive reasoning, there is good reason to believe that menopause does have an effect. However, even in the medical community, heart symptoms such as palpitations and irregular heartbeats are often chalked up to “just menopause.” However, doing so causes two significant problems. First, there is little research effort put into determining the actual causes and reasons for these heart palpitations. Second, menopausal and perimenopausal women may indeed have non-threatening palpitations, but could also have true arrhythmias, slowly causing long term damage to the heart. Lastly, with hot flashes taken relatively lightly, many women simply believe that their rhythmic symptoms are part of the larger aging picture.
The best next step
It is important that as we age, we take care of the risk factors that may lead to more severe cardiovascular disease. While many menopausal women will experience heart palpitations with no long-term damage, it is still crucial to visit a specialist cardiologist known as an electrophysiologist, like Dr. Tordini, to understand more about the heart’s rhythms and to see if there is reason for concern.