Signs and symptoms of panic attacks are in many ways similar to those of a heart attack. Chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, and pounding heart just to name a few. This is why so many people, who experience panic attack for the first time, end up in hospital thinking they are having a heart attack. It's very important to know and understand in what ways are those two conditions different.
And luckily, they are very different. Why luckily? Because a heart attack is potentially fatal and can seriously damage your heart. Panic episodes, on the other hand, can not harm you. Even though they feel very serious, they do not damage your heart or any other part of your body for that matter. The effect they have on your heart is similar to the effect of an intense exercise.
So how do you know the difference? In reality, those two are very different. Of course, if you did not experience a real heart attack before, you do not know how it should feel. Let me just say that it feels completely different than a panic attack.
During a real heart attack you do not feel like your heart is going to jump out of your chest. Quite the opposite actually. There is a painful crushing sensation. You feel like there is a heavy weight on your chest. It's very painful and the pain usually spreads to the shoulder, back, and arms. Most people also feel dizzy and have trouble breathing.
Let's put it this way – if your main focus is pounding heart or intense feeling of terror, and not painful crushing sensation inside your chest, and if you do not feel numbness and pain in the arms and shoulders, then you're probably having a panic attack. Of course, if you are unsure of what it may be, you should see the doctor as soon as possible.