How To Cope With A Panic Attack:
Below, Wilsons tips for getting through a panic attack in the moment, no matter what is making you panic:
- Dont fall for it! Once your MD gives you a clean bill of health, challenge those catastrophic thoughts that you are dying or having a heart attack. Label it as panic trying to scare you.
- Its OK! Dont fight the uncomfortable physical symptoms. Your best strategy is to accept them for what they are: as a normal bodily reaction to your fearful thoughts of danger ahead!
- Wait it out. Panic will yell, Do something! in your mind. Try the opposite. When possible, stay in the situation, quiet your racing thoughts and take some calm breaths.
- Be proactive. Panic causes you to fear you will embarrass yourself, or make some terrible mistake. Plan how you will successfully cope with such an unlikely event. Then you wont be blackmailed by fear.
- Keep building your courage. After an anxiety attack, your impulse will be to avoid similar situations in the future. Your best strategy is to move toward that which you fear. In general, follow this rule: be scared and do it anyway.
Turning A Negative Into A Positive
A panic attack or an AFib episode can bring a rush of frightening energy, as adrenaline courses through your body and your mind jumps to worst-case scenarios. You could try to wait it out and distract yourself with an activity, but sometimes its impossible to calm your anxious response by sheer will.Instead, you might try to turn the rush of fear into a rush of excitement: force yourself to think of an exciting event or possibility, or simply start dancing and laughing. It sounds counterintuitive, but you may be able to flip the nature of your feeling from bad to good, and although this probably wont make your symptoms go away, they will become easier to handle.Relaxation, support, confidence, and commitment are the ingredients of a smart and effective management plan for AFib and for anxiety. If either set of symptoms begins to take over your thoughts and lifestyle, it may be time to seek a new perspective or professional guidance. The good news is that there are plenty of techniques that can interfere with the AFib-anxiety cycle, and help you regain some control.
Living With Panic Attack Health Fears
Panic attacks involve so many physical symptoms that health fears are incredibly common. It can even create health anxiety. Thats why its so important to get your panic attacks under control.
Your blood pressure does increase when you have anxiety. Two different issues lead to the development of high blood pressure during an attack:
- Adrenaline, which causes your heart to speed blood around your body.
- Hyperventilation, which causes your blood vessels to constrict.
Both of these lead to tremendous pressure, and in some cases the appearance of severe hypertension. Those that go through panic attacks, they tend to experience fear over whether or not these attacks indicate that they are putting strain on their heart that could be deadly.
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What Are We Seeing In This Image This Image Describes The Impact Of Compression Of The Vagus Nerve And The Glossopharyngeal Nerve On Heart Rate And Blood Pressure
At 1:00 of the video, Dr. Hauser refers to this image to describe the impact of compression of the vagus nerve and the glossopharyngeal nerve on heart rate and blood pressure
- Many of the vagus nerve sensory fibers that regulate blood pressure are in the carotid artery and the glossopharyngeal nerve fibers. The nerves are part of a network that carries impulses to the brain that tells the brain what is going on with heart rate and blood pressure moment to moment.
- For example, if your blood pressure is going low you need this network to alert the adrenaline system or the sympathetic nervous system to regulate your blood pressure.
At 2:00 of the video When a person has cervical instability especially upper cervical instability
- When a person has cervical instability especially upper cervical instability it can impact the vagus nerve and the glossopharyngeal nerve. The vagus nerve and the glossopharyngeal nerve run in the carotid sheath, the connective tissue that encapsulates the vascular compartments of the neck. This runs right along the anterior body of the cervical vertebrae especially C1-C2.
At 2:20 of the video, the close proximity of the vagus nerve, the glossopharyngeal nerve, and the spinal accessory nerve to the C1-C2 vertebrae is demonstrated with this image
Know The Difference Between Anxiety And Heart Attack
If youre experiencing symptoms, call 911 immediately. While there are ways to determine the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack, a medical diagnosis is the only way to be sure. Pay special attention to an episode that includes:
These physical indicators can more clearly signal a heart attack.
It is especially important to be aware of your own heart attack risk factors. For example, if youre a smoker with a family history of heart disease and have high blood pressure, youre more likely to experience a heart attack.
If, on the other hand, you experience chronic stress, suffered a recent traumatic event, or have trouble coping with lifes ups and downs, you may be dealing with anxiety. Symptoms of severe anxiety and panic often resemble a heart attack, which can worsen your distress. When anxiety feels like a heart attack, the panic can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, when stressors diminish, the symptoms usually do, too.
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Heart Attack Chest Pain
So what are heart attack symptoms?
A heart attack is when the blood flow or blood supply that feeds the heart itself is blocked. Heart attack symptoms include :
- Chest pain that continues to get worse with exertion
- Chest pain that radiates to your arms or jaw
- Heavy pressure in the chest area and a squeezing sensation
- Fast heart rate and shortness of breath
Some people feel exhausted or say they have back pain, and close to 30% of people having a heart attack dont even report chest pain .
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
A heart attack is when part of your heart doesnt get enough blood. This usually happens because an artery that supplies blood to the heart is blocked. Common heart attack symptoms include:
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Feeling of impending doom.
A heart attack can be life-threatening, so dont wait to see if the symptoms go away. Seek immediate medical care if you have signs of a heart attack.
Anxiety And Heart Attack Recovery
Anxiety disorders come with a high degree of fear and uncertainty. When this fear and certainty keeps the heart attack or heart disease patient from following the advice and treatment plan of their cardiologist, it can have a major impact on recovery. Anxiety can interfere with:
- Sticking to prescribed exercise regimens
- Taking prescribed medications
- Following through with a healthy diet
- Getting a proper amount of quality sleep
- Reconnecting with friends and family
- Confidently resuming job career and family responsibilities
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Consequences Of Chest Pain In Panic Disorder
One reason that people with chest pain associated with panic disorder often seek medical care is the distress that accompanies the pain. Patients with panic disorder are sensitive to physiologic cues.17 As a group, those with panic attacks are more concerned about pain, are more convinced that they have a disease, and are more phobic about disease and death than controls. In addition, they more often use blaming, avoidance, and wishful thinking as coping strategies.63 Those with fear as part of their attacks have more panic symptoms with a more recent onset.64 Panic patients are selectively attentive to heart rate and electrocardiograms.65 The significance is that cardiopulmonary fear is the best predictor of the intensity of the cardiac complaints in patients with noncardiac chest pain.66 Even when panic disorder and CAD coexist, the distress perceived by patients with chest pain is typically due to the panic disorder.67 On the other hand, highly anxious patients with panic disorder exhibit increased muscular activity in the chest wall following carbon dioxide inhalation, which predicts frightening cognitions.40 Thus, it is not surprising that people with chest pain due to panic attacks readily seek care for their pain.
Anxiety And Heart Disease
The association between anxiety and heart disease has not been as fully studied as the relationship between depression and heart disease.
Can A Panic Attack Lead To A Heart Attack
No. Its easy to fear that a racing, fluttering chest sensation could be doing real damage to your heart, but McLaughlin says thats not the case. An important thing to tell yourself if youre having a panic attack is that it is not going to cause a heart attack. Even if the heart rate is going fast, it does not lead to a heart attack, says McLaughlin. Its like youre running a marathon, but your heart is a presumably strong, heart. There has been some research that suggests that heart disease may occur more frequently in people with a long-term history of generalized anxiety disorder, but McLaughlin warns that the link is far from straightforward. Its an association, not a causation, necessarily, she explains.
Though it can feel like it, a panic attack wont kill you, and reminding yourself of that when youre in the midst of one can make it end sooner.
Can Anxiety Cause Headaches
Headaches are associated with chronic anxiety.
Headaches are common in and of themselves, but they arenât necessarily a common symptom of the general anxiety you might feel here and there.
However, headaches including migraines can be a complication of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder . This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent, excessive worrying that disrupts a personâs day-to-day life.
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Are You Having An Anxiety Attack Or A Heart Attack
People who suffer from panic attacks often say their acute anxiety feels like a heart attack, as many of the symptoms can seem the same. Both conditions can be accompanied by shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, sweating, a pounding heartbeat, dizziness, and even physical weakness or temporary paralysis.
Perhaps most powerful, though, is the sense of dread that overshadows both events. The fear itself can lead to an increase in these symptoms.
To learn more about living a heart-healthy lifestyle and what to do when anxiety feels like a heart attack, contact UPMCs Heart and Vascular Institute today.
Anxiety And The Development Of Heart Disease
Its my view and my personal clinical experience that anxiety disorders can play a major role in heart disease, says McCann. I believe that a really careful look at anxiety would reveal the ways it can severely impact heart disease, both as a contributing factor and as an obstacle in recovery.
A natural reaction to a sudden heart attack can be similar to post-traumatic stress disorder:
- Youre likely to be shocked by your near-death experience and extremely hesitant to do the things you used to do.
- You might constantly relive the life-threatening event, and avoid the activity or place associated with the heart attack.
- Recurring anxious thoughts may impede your ability to get regular sleep.
- Your thoughts about what lies ahead may be extremely negative and cause a drastically foreshortened outlook of the future.
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Are There Any Natural Alternatives To Panic Disorder Medication
Medications arent the only option for treating panic disorder. There are several steps you can take to help calm yourself down and lessen the symptoms of a panic attack while its happening.
- Counting slowly to 10
- Talking to someone you trust about whats happening
Cognitive behavior therapy is another non-medication option. CBT is a type of talk therapy where people with panic disorder work with a mental health professional to identify triggers, understand symptoms, and develop responses to panic attacks.
CBT is a first-choice option for treating this condition, and studies show CBT can be used by itself for panic disorder or as an add-on treatment to medications. Discuss this option with your healthcare provider if youre interested.
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The Role Of Genes In Anxiety Disorder
Just like a major heart attack, a burn is a horrible thing, says McCann. About 33% of patients who have really severe burns develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Which makes us wonder about the 66% who do not get PTSD. We think genes are a huge part of it. Were currently researching whether this same genetic vulnerability holds true for cardiac disease.
Johns Hopkins Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center
The Johns Hopkins Womens Cardiovascular Health Center provides education, comprehensive treatment and diagnostic services to prevent and manage heart disease in women.
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Functional Morbidity With Pd
Studies that have examined quality of life among patients with PD found substantial disability in a variety of psychosocial realms. Data from the ECA found that PD patients had significantly higher rates of perceived poor physical health, social disability, marital dysfunction, and financial dependency , as well as greater psychiatric comorbidity with elevated rates of attempted suicide. Furthermore, these impairments in perceived health and financial and occupational function were present even in patients with panic attacks but without PD. Further analysis of the ECA data found that, among patients with anxiety disorders, PD was associated with the highest rates of unemployment and financial dependence these effects were independent of comorbid depression. Investigations other than the ECA study have confirmed the findings of significant functional disability in patients with PD. A review by Edlund and Swann discussed the high social morbidity associated with PD, and Katon and associates, in 1995, found that both patients with PD and those with infrequent panic attacks had significantly greater social, family and vocational disability than did controls.
Panic Attacks Feel Long But Are Actually Short
When panic strikes time can slow. You may fear being trapped, unable to get help, which makes you panic morefeeling like the attack will never end. In reality, most panic attacks peak within just a few minutes, according to the Mayo Clinic, with a typical attack ending within 20 or 30 minutes, and symptoms abating. Still, the sensations of terror you experienced in those few moments may lead you to avoid the location where the attack occurred, as well as crowds and other triggering situations. If you become preoccupied with future attacks happening, you may have developed panic disorder.
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How To Tell The Difference Between A Heart Attack And A Panic Attack
The best way to tell the difference is to simply visit the doctor and have your heart tested. If your heart is in good health, it’s very unlikely you are suffering from a heart attack, especially if you have signs of anxiety. The good news is that there are plenty of easy tests to rule out any serious heart problems.
Beyond that, there are very minute differences in the symptoms. Examples include:
- Chest pain from anxiety tends to be more localized and sharp, while heart attacks radiate and are often duller.
- Panic attacks rarely cause vomiting – a somewhat common symptom of heart attacks, although not in all of those that experience one.
- Panic attacks tend to be more systematic. They generally peak about 10 minutes in and then there is a slow and steady decline. Heart attacks can follow this same pattern, but it’s less common.
Otherwise, the best thing to do is get your heart checked and learn whether or not you’re suffering from any heart problems. If not, then you’re experiencing anxiety attacks.
Heart Attack Or Anxiety
It feels like your heart is getting squeezed. You can’t get a deep breath. You get chest pains. You feel weak. You genuinely feel as though you’re about to die.
Then it all goes away.
What happened? Many people worry they suffered from a heart attack. But what you may have suffered from is a panic attack. Don’t let the name fool you – panic attacks cause very real physical symptoms that mimic those of a heart attack, yet in general, nothing is wrong with your heart.
Why are these anxiety attacks so powerful and how can they be stopped? We’ll explore these anxiety attacks below.
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To Relieve Anxiety Talk Out Loud To Yourself
Give yourself permission to have an anxiety attack by saying the words out loud. Remind yourself that the attack will end, and it wont kill you or cause you to faint.
Carbonell says that understanding the physiology of fainting and reminding yourself of it is important. People faint when their blood pressure drops. A anxiety attack can make you feel like youre going to faint, but you wont because your blood pressure doesnt drop during an attack. Remind yourself out loud of truths like these to counter your fears.