Suffering from shortness of breath? It may be a symptom of panic attack, heart attack, or even a stroke. If you find it difficult to breathe, you must make sure whether it is really caused by anxiety or not. As the name suggests, shortness of breath anxiety or dyspnea is a type of panic attack that makes breathing very difficult and causes a person to become extremely paranoid about his or her condition.
But what is the difference between panic attack-related and heart attack-related shortness of breath, you might be wondering. It is quite tricky to make a distinction between the two because they share some similarities. First, shortness of breath anxiety is characterized by gastro-intestinal problems such as heart burn, and this is also experienced by people suffering from heart attack. Second, both conditions are accompanied by fight or flight response or a feeling of a looming danger. Third, anxiety due to shortness of breath is a symptom of circulatory disorders that are triggered naturally by the body and mind. Lastly, both heart attack and panic attack victims lose their sensation in certain parts of the body, so shortness of breath can be mistaken for either one of the two conditions.
Now, how can you tell the difference between breathing difficulties related to heart attack and those related to shortness of breath anxiety? The following are some factors to take into account:
1. If the shortness of breath comes with numbness or pain on the left arm
2. If the shortness of breath comes with pain on the left side of the chest
3. The weight of the person with breathing difficulty
4. Whether the person has a record of congenital heart ailments
The most important factor to look into is how long the shortness of breath usually lasts. Typically, panic attacks last for about 10 minutes. If the shortness of breath takes more than 30 minutes, then that should is a sign of a more severe condition.
Shortness of breath anxiety occurs because of a combination of multiple impulses sent by the nerve endings in the chest muscles and lungs to the main system of the brain. The combination of impulses is further combined with a person’s interpretation and perception of shortness of breathing. Several factors aggravate the difficulty of breathing, and these are shown by the following shortness of breath anxiety symptoms:
1. Feeling of being strangled, which increases the panic and anxiety
2. Tiredness felt as the chest muscles move
3. Increased effort exerted while inhaling and exhaling
4. Feeling of suffocation or a sudden feeling of tightness within the wall of the chest
So what should you do when shortness of breath strikes? Call a physician to take a look at your condition. Don’t put off your visit to the doctor, lest your breathing difficulties will punish you for a long time. In addition to asking help from a specialist, you can do some exercises to help you breathe more easily, whether the shortness of breath is caused by a panic attack or a heart attack.