While not all women with irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, experience unpleasant symptoms, those consumed by sudden palpitations are understandably desperate to find help. Luckily, no matter the type of cardiac irregularities or symptom severity, women have numerous effective irregular heartbeat treatments at their disposal.
Keep on reading to find out how to treat arrhythmia so that you achieve lasting heart health and peace of mind far into your twilight years!
Three Approaches to Treating Irregular Heartbeat
When searching for the right arrhythmia treatment, women can choose from among three approaches: (1) Lifestyle changes, (2) Alternative medicine,and (3) Conventional medicine. They are generally encouraged to start with the most natural options and move on to conventional treatments if medically necessary.
Lifestyle Changes for Irregular Heartbeat Treatment
The first level of treatment consists of making healthier lifestyle adjustments, which carries the least amount of risk, but calls for the strongest will. Nevertheless, it can bring tremendous benefits to arrhythmia treatment.
Following a heart-healthy menopausal diet can be beneficial for managing irregular heartbeat, regulating blood pressure, and improving women's overall health during menopause. Women can opt for regular, well-balanced meals composed with colorful and fiber-rich varieties of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, while giving preference to the following:1
- Lean protein, such as poultry, legumes, fish, nuts, and seeds
- Mono- and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, such as cheese, yogurt, or reduced-fat milk
- Phytoestrogenic foods, such as soy, oats, or sesame
Moreover, women are encouraged to limit their intake of salt, red meats, sugar, and processed foods.
Staying physically active is an important part of treating arrhythmia. When done consistently, it can help strengthen blood vessels, control weight gain, shed excess pounds, reduce stress, and regulate cholesterol, all of which are essential for a healthy heart.2
Amount: Women are advised to exercise moderately for 30 minutes a day, most days a week, or vigorously for 15 minutes a day, five times a week.3 However, it is key to consult a doctor for personalized recommendations.
Type: Women are advised to combine aerobics - like jogging or swimming - with muscle-strengthening workouts, like yoga or light weights, while still keeping it fun and choosing sports they enjoy.
Useful tips: It is worth remembering that even the smallest forms of exercise throughout the day add up, including taking stairs instead of an elevator, riding a bike to the store, or walking an extra block with the dog.
Precautions: Due to a higher risk of osteoporosis in menopausal women, sports that have an increased risk of injury or are strenuous should be avoided to prevent fractures.
Besides conscious eating and regular exercising, women can make wholesome choices in their day-to-day lives. Collectively, they can help them take control over their heart health and reduce their risk of developing life-threatening heart disease. Some of the best recommendations for arrythmia treatment are as follows:
Relieving stress is a key component of irregular heartbeat treatment as acute stress is known to have adverse effects on the heart.4 Women can choose between meditation, biofeedback, breathing exercises, and more.
Practicing vagal maneuvers - like gagging, coughing, or doing Vasalva maneuver - influences the vagus nerve to stop or reduce symptoms of some types of arrhythmia.5 However, prior doctor's clearance is necessary.
Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is very important for treating arrhythmia. Studies have found that poor sleeping habits increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including irregular heartbeat.6
Quitting addictions to nicotine or alcohol is one of the most important solutions for how to treat arrhythmia. Both can not only worsen irregular heartbeat, but, more importantly, lead to life-threatening heart disease over time.7,8
Alternative Medicine for Irregular Heartbeat Treatment
Alternative approaches to how to treat arrhythmia consist of a rich variety of options, with herbal supplements being the most popular and straightforward one. They are also one of the most effective approaches since they address the underlying root of menopausal arrhythmia, hormonal imbalance.
There are two types of herbal supplements that can be considered for arrhythmia treatment: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating supplements.
Phytoestrogenic supplements, like dong quai, contain phytoestrogens, which are plant-based compounds that function like estrogen in the human body. When used short-term, they can replenish estrogen levels and relieve arrhythmia symptoms. However, their long-term use is not recommended because they can make the body less capable of producing its own hormones, thus eventually leading to a further state of imbalance.
Hormone-Regulating Herbal Supplements
Hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem, do not supply the body with outside hormones. Instead, they act directly on the endocrine glands by nourishing them with beneficial alkaloids and stimulating them to improve their hormone production. By doing this, they help balance hormone levels and alleviate symptoms of an imbalance. They are considered one of the safest and most effective irregular heartbeat treatments that can be taken long-term.
From Nature and Health Magazine, Dr. Chacon says:
"Macafem's nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands." Click on the following link if you wantto learn more about Macafem.
Combining lifestyle adjustments with herbal supplements is often the most holistic and long-lasting approach to restoring hormonal balance and treating arrhythmia during menopause. However, some types of irregular heartbeat may need conventional treatments to control their conditions.
Conventional Medicine for Irregular Heartbeat Treatment
Treatments on the third level involve the highest cost, and some may come with high risks of side effects. However, they are a necessary component of the treatment plan if arrhythmia negatively impacts or endangers women's health.
There are two types of conventional irregular heartbeat treatments that can be considered: medications and surgery.
Depending on the type of arrhythmia, medications for irregular heart rate may work by controlling or resolving the irregularities. They include the following:
Anti-arrhythmic drugs - such as quinidine or lidocaine - aim to restore a normal heart rhythm in women with rapid or extra heartbeats. They work by altering the electrical signals within the heart.
Beta blockers - like metoprolol or acebutolol - aim to treat arrhythmia by inhibiting adrenaline and regulating heart rhythm.
Calcium channel blockers - such as verapamil or diltiazem-work by dilating blood vessels to increase blood flow to the heart, thus decreasing blood pressure, slowing the heart rate, and relieving chest pain.
Anticoagulants - like coumadin or dabigatran - may be prescribed to thin blood and lower the risk of blood clots that may lead to stroke. It is mostly used in women with atrial fibrillation, among other arrhythmia types.
Hormone-replacement therapy (HRT), which contains estrogen, progesterone, or their combination, used to be the most widely prescribed treatment for arrhythmia and other menopausal symptoms. While quick and highly effective, HRT has been found to increase the risk of serious side effects and put women's health at risk, as shown in the studies below. As such, its use is reserved for severe menopause symptoms.
In the 2002 JAMA publication, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) discoveries linked HRT to a higher risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, blood clots, and strokes.9 In a more recent study (2019), researchers from The Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer confirmed the WHI HRT study findings and also showed that HRT risks can last for over a decade.10
Medical Procedures & Surgery
In the case of life-threatening arrhythmias or those that cause severe symptoms, women may be offered various medical procedures or surgery to resolve the underlying cause, reduce the risks, and relieve symptoms. They are as follows:
Medical procedures do not involve opening the chest to treat arrhythmia. Instead, they consist of small devices that monitor the heart and regulate its rhythm - such implantable cardioverter defibrillators or pacemakers - or procedures aimed at restoring a normal heartbeat, like catheter ablation or cardioversion.
Surgery - such as heart valve repair or replacement and coronary artery bypass grafting - may involve opening the chest. However, for some arrythmias, minimally invasive surgery may also be an option.
These three levels of irregular heartbeat treatment are not mutually exclusive. Women may find that some approaches might be more beneficial at various stages of the menopausal transition than others. Nevertheless, many opt to combine lifestyle changes with herbal supplements for optimal, risk-free results the natural way.
A Safe Way of Treating Irregular Heartbeat
Implementing Lifestyle Changes:
- Following a heart-healthy diet alongside phytoestrogenic foods
- Keeping up with regular exercise for 150 minutes a week
- Practicing stress-relief techniques of yoga or slow, deep breathing
- Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and quitting addictions
And Taking Herbal Supplements:
- Phytoestrogenic herbal supplements, like dong quai
- Or natural hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem
- American Heart Association. (2016). Prevention and Treatment if Arrhythmia. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/arrhythmia/prevention--treatment-of-arrhythmia
- Cleveland Clinic. (2019). Arrhythmia Treatments. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/16751-arrhythmia-treatments
- Cleveland Clinic. (2019). Heart Healthy Diet. Retrieved April 22, 2020 fromhttps://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17079-heart-healthy-diet
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Cardiac Arrhythmias. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/cardiac-arrhythmias-a-to-z
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Heart arrythmia. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-arrhythmia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350674
- Medline Plus.(n.d.). Arrhythmia. Retrieved April 22, 2020 fromhttps://medlineplus.gov/arrhythmia.html
- NHS. (2018). Arrhythmia. Retrieved April 22, 2020 fromhttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/arrhythmia/
- Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine. (2016). Stress-induced cardiac arrhythmias: The heart-brain interaction. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4662914/
- American College of Cardiology. (2016). Experts Clarify Definition of a Heart-Healthy Diet. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.cardiosmart.org/News-and-Events/2016/11/Experts-Clarify-Definition-of-a-HeartHealthy-Diet
- Benefits of exercise: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (n.d.). Heart-Healthy Living. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-healthy-living
- American Heart Association. (2017). The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/aha-diet-and-lifestyle-recommendations
- Indian Pacing and Electrophysiology Journal. (2014). Stress and Cardiac Arrhythmias. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4217301/
- American Heart Association. (2019). Irregular sleep could negatively impact heart health. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/03/08/irregular-sleep-could-negatively-impact-heart-health
- European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. (2012). Nicotine, cigarette smoking and cardiac arrhythmia: an overview. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22779085
- Alcohol: Cleveland Clinic. (2014). Alcohol May Cause You to Develop Irregular Heartbeat. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/alcohol-may-cause-irregular-heartbeat/
- JAMA. (2002). Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results from the Women's Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12117397
- The Lancet. (2019). Type and timing of menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk: individual participant meta-analysis of the worldwide epidemiological evidence. Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31709-X/fulltext