Mitral Valve Prolapse and Panic Attacks

Mitral valve prolapse and panic attacks (anxiety attacks) are not a cause and effect process. They just have some symptoms that can be the same. Other symptoms are quite different, the set of symptoms that overlap can create some confusion in diagnosis and in treatment of the two.

Mitral valve prolapse occurs in about fifteen to twenty five percent of the population. In most people, the condition is mild and doesn’t show up all at once. The symptoms may be different from one individual to the next. They tend to worsen over time. Many people are quite surprised to learn that they have a problem in the heart.

The condition is due to a valve failure between the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart. The faulty valve doesn’t close properly so blood leaks backward through the valve. This condition is known as regurgitation. There are hereditary factors in the condition.

Some of the symptoms that appear when a patient is suffering from mitral valve prolapse include arrhythmia, also called racing heart rate or irregular heartbeat. Some people call the feeling palpitations. The symptoms can include chest pain with no physical cause of the pain. The individual may become lightheaded or experience dizziness. Even when lying flat, there may be symptoms of shortness of breath and difficulty catching one’s breath. Overwhelming fatigue is common.

It is estimated that at least forty percent of people with mitral valve prolapse also have anxiety attacks. The chest pain is frightening to individuals experiencing it, which may lead to an anxiety attack. The attack can make the chest pain and shortness of breath worse. One symptom feeds on the other.

When you experience the attack symptoms resulting from the MVPS, they can be very frightening. They often result in a person rushing to the emergency room, thinking that a heart attack is occurring. You might think that your heart is not functioning properly. Actual physical causes for the syndrome are rare.

Mitral valve prolapse and panic attacks are treated very differently. The individual with MVP may not need significant treatment at all and can typically lead totally normal lives. The individual with MVP will need to prevent the danger of bacteria entering the blood stream. They may take antibiotics before a dental visit and take particular care to avoid food with triglycerides. Individuals who have an episode of panic may need an entirely different treatment regimen.

Mitral valve prolapse does not directly cause panic attacks, but it can trigger them. The attacks can be treated naturally and without the use of drugs. Mitral valve prolapse and panic attack treatments need not interfere with each other.