Can Anxiety Cause A Heart Attack

09/05/2021

Can Anxiety Cause A Heart Attack?

Stress is a normal part of life. Stress can come from physical causes like not getting enough sleep or having an illness. Another cause for stress can be emotional - worrying about not having enough money or the death of a loved one, and uncountable other reasons. Stress can come from less dramatic causes as well - like everyday obligations and pressures that may make you feel that you are not in control of these events and that of your life.

Many studies have revealed that about a portion of people with cardiovascular conditions have some sort of anxiety problem and, in some cases, the stress seems to make the heart ailment worse. Anxiety comes with a high level of fear and perplexity.

When someone is anxious, their body responds in tones that can put an extra exertion on their heart. The physical signs of anxiety can be particularly damaging among individuals with an existing cardiac condition.

It's unclear why heart disease and anxiety are related and whether anxiety can cause heart attacks. Generalized anxiety dysfunction is connected with surges of the stress hormone cortisol and an overflow of other chemicals involved in the "fight or flight" response. That may, in turn, make heart attacks and other cardiac issues more likely.

Another approach is that the real accused is depression, despite the best attempts by researchers to bother apart depression and anxiety and examine them individually. The boundary line between major depression and generalized anxiety disorder is naturally fuzzy, at both the physiological and biological levels.

A Panic Attack Or A Heart Attack?

Anxiety attacks and heart attacks can share similar if not the same symptoms. Both a panic attack and a heart attack can cause dizziness, sweating or shortness of breath. The chart lists some of the constituents that help to distinguish a panic attack from a heart attack.

More Likely A Panic Attack
  • Pain is stabbing and needlelike
  • Pain and trouble tend to happen in the middle of the chest
  • Chest pain and other symptoms subside quickly
More Likely a Heart Attack
  • Pain is dull, heavy pressure
  • Pain may occur in the centre of the chest but may also radiate to the upper body (arms, shoulders, or jaw)
  • Chest pain and other signs last minutes, not seconds

What You Should Do

If you have a heart problem and feel anxious, address the problem with your doctor. Anxiety ailments can be successfully treated and not necessarily with medicines. Many people use meditation and other ways to bring their anxiety problems under control.

And if your problem is anxiety, you may need to start giving more attention to heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Dr Rajeev Garg
Sr. Consultant – Interventional Cardiologist

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