Insomnia, stress may play a part in women developing irregular heart rhythm post-menopause, research says

Procedure to treat AFib gaining popularity in Jacksonville and beyond

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New research says insomnia and stress may play a part in women developing an irregular heart rhythm post-menopause. This is according to the American Heart Association.

A normal resting heart rate for adults beats between 60 and 100 a minute. Hearts with atrial fibrillation or aFib can beat faster than 100 beats per minute.

It’s estimated 1 in 4 women will develop it after menopause, according to the American Heart Association.

“I think we need to define what menopause is. It’s 12 months of no period and the average age in the United States is 52. It’s really when the ovaries stop making estrogen. Menopause doesn’t cause heart disease or blocked arteries but there are some specific risk factors that really do change when we see this drop in estrogen,” said Dr. Chrisandra Shufelt with the Mayo Clinic.

Shufelt says hormonal changes from menopause can cause negative health effects in a woman’s body and can make a woman more susceptible to AFib.

“We start to see women who’ve never had high blood pressure in their life, and they come in and they’re saying oh my blood pressure is starting to go up. We see central weight gain starting to happen. Cholesterol numbers start to shift in the wrong direction,” said Shufelt.

Heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, and Shortness of breath are symptoms of atrial fibrillation in women after menopause.

“It’s important to note that atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that increases the risk of stroke and heart failure,” said Shufelt.

Research found that lack of sleep and stress are two leading factors that increase a woman’s risk.

“80% of this is preventable and I always say menopause is an opportunity for prevention. Go to get a wellness woman exam. Go to get a physical with your primary care physician and provider. Know your heart numbers. Your cholesterol, your blood sugar,” said Shufelt.

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This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.