Heart Attack May Sometimes Look Like a Panic Attack

panic attack heart attack
Image by Jefty Matricio from Pixabay

Health experts suggest everyone be more watchful of the symptoms when it comes to an abrupt reaction like a heart attack or a panic attack. It may sound unbelievable but most people fail to see a difference between these two, which can lead to complications and death too, in case no emergency medical help is called.

Pain in the chest, increased heartbeat, inability to breathe and excessive sweating are the few signs that are common in both panic attack and heart attack. However, the outcome of these two are extremely different and a heart attack can also kill a person.

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Typically, a heart attack is a reaction of a blocked artery inside the body which prevents the blood to reach the heart muscles. The heart attack symptoms don’t fade unless the person is taken to a hospital and given emergency treatment. But in panic attacks, the symptoms go away within some time, on their own, with or without treatment. When a medicine is given, the panic attack symptoms fade even faster.

Due to these common symptoms of both these problems, many people fail to get medical help in time and suffer from extreme complications and even death.

People who are in their 40s are the most common group to experience heart problems, as compared to people below 40. This risk increases with age and people after 50 are at the highest risk of heart attacks. But panic disorders are more common in younger people and their occurrence is lesser in older adults. Still, those with underlying issues such as hypertension, diabetes, family history, obesity, and metabolic disorders are at high risk of developing heart conditions in the coming years.

If a younger adult who has no underlying health issue starts feeling pain in the chest, there are least chances that it is a heart attack. But this same chest pain in a 50 years old person is highly possible to be a heart attack, requiring urgent care.

Panic attacks are linked with stress but this stress can also be a leading factor in a heart attack. But heart attack patients start experiencing problems a few days ago before suffering an attack and, in most cases, it is also linked with physical activity. But panic attacks can show up any time, with or without showing symptoms in previous days. Unlike a heart attack, a panic attack could be an immediate response of the body such as after receiving heartbreaking news.

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When a panic attack shows up, it is advised to calm the body, sit peacefully, and regulate breathing and heart rate with deep breaths. However, heart attack patients are not advised to go in isolation and treat these symptoms on their own. If a person can’t differentiate between a heart attack or a panic attack, the best is to call the emergency services and get medical help.

The risk of heart attacks can be controlled by following healthy dietary and lifestyle habits. But panic attacks need much more than these changes. Often they are relieved with stress-lowering techniques for example yoga, breathing exercises, meditation or medicinal options, and therapy.


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