Anxiety Depression Treatment

Anxiety Attack and Heart Problems

An acute anxiety attack, or panic attack, is a terrifying ordeal to experience. During a panic attack, a surge of fear overcomes the individual, often without any clear provocation. Many patients truly believe they are going to die, and some experience syncope, or fainting, as a reaction to this stressor. Anxiety or panic attacks are one of the most common and disabling problems encountered by both mental health professions and general medical practitioners. Thousands of Americans rush to the hospital emergency rooms every day suspecting they are having a heart attack, but medical tests show that their hearts are in sound condition.

The signs and symptoms of a panic attack are quite similar to those of a heart attack: palpitations, difficulty breathing, a sense of doom, lightheadedness, nausea, chest pain, and sudden chills. Unlike a heart attack, however, a panic attack is not medically dangerous.

There is no connection between panic attacks and heart disease except that the symptoms of both feel so much alike. Some people after the first panic attack develop intense fear about having a heart attack. They then start monitoring themselves very closely, trying to detect any signs of a heart disease. So, when their heart rate increases which is normal for everyone under excitement, stress or fatigue, they think they are having a heart attack. Then the mere thought of having a heart attack sends the heart and the rest of the body into a frenzy.

Millions of people worldwide suffer with panic attacks and other anxiety disorders which create these scary and intense symptoms but this isn't heart disease. In fact, with every panic attack or racing heart you experience, your heart is being exercised. The heart is a muscle so making it work harder actually strengthens it. OK, agreed, it isn't the best way to get exercise but at least you know that you're not in danger!

The truth is, a heart attack feels and is, completely different to a panic attack and certainly doesn't allow you to remain as alert and responsive as you do when you have a panic attack!

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have, or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.