Each year thousands of people rush to the emergency room with complaints of chest pains, shortness of breath, and nausea.
Most, if not all, think they are having a heart attack. Once tests are completed they find out their heart is fine.
What they’ve experienced is an anxiety attack. The symptoms of an anxiety attack vs. heart attack can be very similar.
How can you tell the difference?
Anxiety attack vs. heart attack?
Truthfully it is not always easy to tell the difference. Both an anxiety attack and a heart attack can cause increased heart rate and even irregular heartbeats.
Learning to distinguish the difference between the two is difficult for most people. Either type of attack can cause discomfort and pain.
The Heart Races Anxiety or Heart Attack?
Approximately eighty percent of people having anxiety attacks have a rapid or irregular heart rate. Many of these people think they are on the verge of having a heart attack.
They will complain that their heart is racing, or beating much too fast. In most cases if rapid heart rate is not accompanied by severe pain its an anxiety attack.
While heart rate will change during a heart attack, the more common symptom that is not usually present with an anxiety attach is extreme pain. Pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes is one sign of a heart attack.
Upper body parts can also experience pain during the beginning of a heart attack. This includes both arms, the neck, the jaw, or the stomach.
This pain may come and go.
Those experiencing an anxiety attack don’t normally have the severe pain of a heart attack victim.
Another common occurrence with an anxiety attack is rapid breathing. Sometimes the person feeling the rapid breathing will think they can’t breathe.
In truth all they need to do is to reminder their self to take a deep breathe and self-regulate their breathing.
This can be very difficult to accomplish in the midst of a strong anxiety attack. Shortness of breath is another early sign of a heart attack.
It can occur with or without chest pain. Cold sweat, nausea, and lightheadedness can also be present in the beginning of a heart attack.
There is no connection between anxiety attacks and heart attacks other than the symptoms of both feel so much alike.
Often the person in the midst of an anxiety attack does not think clearly. They become much less rational and therefore it can be hard to convince them they are not having a heart attack.
Remember, the level of pain, the areas of pain, and the type of breathing is usually similar, yet different in a heart attack and an anxiety attack.
Medical evaluation is the only way to determine the difference during an attack. After the attack the person with an anxiety attack will return to normal and have no symptoms.
That’s not usually the case with a heart attack.
All medical professionals advise that if you’re not sure what’s happening you should seek medical attention immediately.
While it may be embarrassing to find out there’s nothing wrong except being anxious its better to get checked out.