What Are The Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
Anxiety feels different for everyone and can affect our bodies in different ways. These are some of the physical symptoms of anxiety you might experience:
- faster, shallower breathing
- tightness or pain in the chest
- pins and needles in toes or fingers
- feeling faint or dizzy
- fast, thumping or irregular heartbeat
- raised blood pressure
- needing the toilet more frequently
- churning in the pit of the stomach.
Eat Properly To Help Your Digestion
Its very easy to spend our working lives eating on the move or at our desks, gulping down food between meetings and then crashing out in front of the TV with a takeaway in the evenings.
But eating this way can play havoc with our digestive system.
Follow some basic rules to prevent problems:
- Do not rush your food. Take the time to eat slowly. Try putting your fork down between bites and chew each mouthful well.
- Do not overeat. Reduce the size of your portions at mealtimes, or try eating 4 to 5 small meals instead of 3 large ones.
- Eat regularly and try not to skip meals.
- Avoid eating a big meal just before you go to bed. Eat your last meal at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down.
- Make sure you have plenty of water to drink.
Functional Morbidity With Chest Pain And Normal Coronary Arteries
A number of researchers have also examined functional disability and persistence of symptoms in patients with chest pain and normal coronary arteries, of whom approximately 40% have PD. Ockene and coworkers followed 37 patients with chest pain and normal coronary arteries for 6 to 37 months. At follow-up, 70% of such patients had continued chest pain, 51% reported being unable to work due to their symptoms, and 47% had their usual daily activities limited by chest pain despite normal angiograms. Similarly, Lavey and Winkle followed 45 patients with chest pain and normal coronary arteries for a mean of 3.5 years after their normal angiogram. Fully 82% of the patients continued to see physicians for cardiac complaints, and, of the patients whose activities had been limited by symptoms, 79% continued to have functional limitations to the same or greater degree. Finally, a larger study following 1977 chest pain patients without significant coronary artery disease for a mean of 6 years found that 70% of such patients continued to have chest pain over this period, and fully half reported being unable to exert themselves as a result of their symptoms.
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Utilization Of Medical Services And Functional Morbidity In Panic Disorder
Patients with PD can have extreme anxiety and frequent somatic symptoms as a result of recurrent panic attacks. These patients frequently visit primary care offices and emergency departments with symptoms of their undiagnosed and untreated PD and have difficulties maintaining employment or relationships given the disabling nature of their symptoms. Low rates of physician recognition and treatment of PD can perpetuate high medical service utilization and result in continued functional disability. At least 35% of patients with PD view their physical and emotional health as fair or poor this fact is remarkable given that these patients are frequently young and otherwise healthy.
Is Anxiety Bad For Your Heart
Nearly everyone experiences anxiety and stress at some time. A healthy heart can handle the heart racing with occasional anxiety and stress.
But if you have a heart condition like coronary artery disease or heart failure, work with a doctor to manage it. In these circumstances, anxiety and a fast heart rate can trigger chest pain.
People with certain heart conditions may take prescription medications that keep their heart rate low, says Dr. Bibawy. The medications prevent a fast heart rate or palpitations if you get scared, for instance. If your heart condition is under control, then having occasional anxiety wont be a problem.
Frequent anxiety is another story. Chronic stress and anxiety arent good for your heart or your health in general so dont let it slide.
Untreated anxiety disorders can raise your blood pressure, lower your quality of sleep and interfere with your enjoyment of life, says Dr. Bibawy. See your healthcare provider if you frequently feel anxious or think you might have an anxiety or panic disorder. Treatments are available.
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Chronic Stress Can Cause Heart Trouble Too
Initially, takotsubo cardiomyopathy was identified in patients who experienced sudden, extreme stress. But doctors now recognize that it can also occur in people who have more prolonged stressors such as a major project at work or relationship stress at home, Gilstrap says.
Chronic stress is also linked to heart disease in a number of ways. Experiencing chronic stress, including that from racial biases, poverty, or relationship troubles, increases your risk of hypertension, according to a 2013 study in Current Hypertension Reports. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease.
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 these 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.
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How To Detect Abnormal Heart Rhythm Patterns
Abnormal heart rhythms have three patterns, and the first is the easiest to figure out: You develop a sudden elevated heart rate with anxiety. Your device will show an abrupt heart rate acceleration, and when symptoms stop, the device should abruptly return to normal. This is usually shown as a spike in the graph of more than 30 to 40 bpm.
The second really depends on understanding your normal heart rate. In this pattern, the heart rate is exaggerated during rest or by an activity. If your heart rate while sleeping at night is typically 40 to 60 bpm, for example, but on a seemingly normal night it jumps to 70 to 90 bpm, you may have a form of an SVT called atrial tachycardia. In atrial tachycardia, the changing heart rate pattern is abnormal for you, it can last for longer periods of time, and it may occur without symptoms. The heart rate in atrial tachycardia is often more than 20 to 30 bpm faster than your normal heart rate would be for that same activity.
The last pattern is one in which the heart rate can vary dramatically from beat to beat this is seen in people with a very abnormal heart rate, such as atrial fibrillation. In some people, the heart rate is mildly elevated, while in others it may be more than 100 bpm. The smartphone graphs a chaotic, abnormal pattern with broad swings in the tracing from beat to beat. This same pattern can be seen in people with very frequent extra beats from the upper and lower heart chambers.
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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How To Tell Where Your Chest Pain Is Coming From
Heres a quick cheat sheet with the differences between anxiety chest pain and a heart attack.
- When: Anxiety chest pain happens most often when at rest, and heart attack chest pain often happens during activity. Anxiety chest pain tends to start and end faster. Heart attack chest pain builds up and continues to increase in pain .
- Where: Anxiety chest pain usually stays in the chest, while heart attack chest pain can radiate through to the arms, shoulders, and jaw .
- What: Anxiety chest pain often feels much sharper with reports of a stabbing-like pain, and heart attack chest pain usually feels more heavy, aching, and with squeezing pressure .
- Who: Anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, are more common in women and heart attacks are more common in men .
Talk To A Professional
Psychotherapy works very well at helping persons affected by any of the anxiety disorders, including helping to lessen the symptoms they experience. Also called talk therapy, psychotherapy is conducted based on the therapists assessment of the specific issues a person faces and their specific needs to regain control of their life.
A common approach that a therapist might use is Cognitive Behavior Therapy , in which the affected person is taught new ways of thinking about and reacting to the triggers of their anxiety. This may include exposure therapy, whereby the person is exposed to the object of their fear to help them confront it rather than avoiding it. The therapist may also decide to teach relaxation techniques as a part of exposure therapy.
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How Do Providers Treat Heart Palpitations And Anxiety
If your healthcare provider diagnoses you with heart palpitations caused by anxiety, they may suggest:
- Complementary health treatments:Biofeedback, massage therapy and other techniques can help you relax.
- Medications: Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants help some people. Your provider may suggest options to treat anxiety that happens when you fly or speak in public. These medicines include beta blockers and benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam and diazepam . Benzodiazepines can be habit-forming, so they are only for occasional use.
- Psychotherapy:Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you identify and treat your thought patterns. Exposure-response prevention aims to create a positive response to fears to relieve anxiety.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety
Its not always easy to recognise the difference between anxiety-related chest pain and pain from something like a heart attack or angina. Everyone will experience anxiety differently, and theres a wide range of psychological and physical symptoms you might feel, says Dr Roshaan Saloojee, a Livi GP.
- Feelings of panic or fear
- Feeling tense or always on edge
- Racing thoughts you cant control
- Difficulty concentrating
Physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Sweating or hot flushes
- A fast heartbeat
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Feeling sick
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Can Stress Cause Chest Pain During Panic Attacks
Your bodys stress responses are activated during a panic attack. These are also known as your fight or flight responses.
Contraction of your muscles is one of these stress responses. Your body does this to protect you from danger, as the tension makes you more resilient. This stiffness in your chest wall muscles and nearby areas can cause chest pain both during and after panic attacks.
Another stress response that can be activated during a panic attack is hyperventilation, where you over-breathe as your body believes it is going to have to move fast. This can cause you to use your chest muscles to expand your rib cage, causing chest pain when your muscles become tired. This hyperventilation can then cause carbon dioxide levels in your blood to decrease, another factor that can lead to chest pain as well as tingling, dizziness, numbness and a dry mouth.
Stomach and digestive functions also alter during a fight or flight response and it is possible for problems with these functions to be experienced as chest pain or tightness.
What Kind Of Doctor Treats Non
The first time a person has non-cardiac chest pain, he or she usually goes to the emergency room, thinking he or she is having a heart attack. The first thing the emergency room doctor will do is make sure the pain is not a heart attack or due to heart disease.
If it truly is non-cardiac chest pain, the emergency room doctor usually refers the patient to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in digestive system disorders, for more testing and treatment.
Some people who have had several episodes of non-cardiac chest pain go to their primary care physician or a heart doctor instead of the emergency room. The doctor will follow the same steps to make sure the pain is not heart-related, then refer the person to a gastroenterologist.
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Should I See A Doctor If I Get Stomach Pains When I Am Stressed
You should be seeing your primary care physician at least once a year, and you should tell them if you often have stomach pain or GI discomfort.
If your primary care physician identifies symptoms of a chronic GI condition or other warning signs, they may refer you to a gastroenterologist like myself. A gastroenterologist can help determine if your stomach pain or GI symptoms are related to stress, or due to another condition that requires different treatment.
How Do I Relieve Chest Pain Felt During A Panic Attack
When someone has a panic attack, chest pain is a common and frightening symptom. It can be so severe, and accompanied by palpitations, difficulty breathing and other physical symptoms of panic attacks, that it makes a person feel as though they are having a heart attack where they worry that they are going to die. Often, it is stress that causes the chest pain.
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Ways To Manage Stress And Help Your Heart
Want to turn your stress around and help your heart in the process? Try these five simple tips.
Stay positive. People with heart disease who maintain an upbeat attitude are less likely to die than those who are more negative, according to research. Just having a good laugh can help your heart. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
Meditate. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Anyone can learn to meditate. Just take a few minutes to sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Meditation’s close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body.
Exercise. Every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, but it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Unplug. It’s impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Cut the cord. Avoid emails and TV news. Take time each dayeven if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutesto escape from the world.
Find your own path to stress relief. Take a bubble bath, listen to music, or read a book. Any technique is effective if it works for you.
Here Is What A Medical Doctor Says About Anxiety Causing Both Chest And Left Arm Pain
Dr. David D. Clarke, MD, is president of the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association , which aims to educate people that so many physical symptoms are rooted in mental stress and anxiety.
Dr. Clarke is also Clinical Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology Emeritus, Oregon Health & Science University.
Youre probably already well-aware that chest pain can be caused by stress or anxiety in someone with a healthy heart .
But is it possible for anxiety to cause pain in the chest and left arm at the same time in someone with a healthy heart?
Dr. Clarke explains, Acute or chronic anxiety can be associated with a variety of physical symptoms including discomfort in the chest.
I have never encountered a patient who had anxiety-related pain in both the chest and the left arm simultaneously.
This combination is more often associated with poor circulation to the heart muscle, i.e., angina or heart attack.
I know this is not what you wanted to read if youve been experiencing simultaneous chest pain and left arm pain.
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Other Heart Problems That Cause Aching Heart
Other reasons why your heart could be hurting could be due to myocarditis, pericarditis, or aortic dissection.
Myocarditis. The European Heart Journal says that heart pain can be caused by myocarditis. This is inflammation of the heart muscle often caused by a viral infection. Symptoms of myocarditis include sharp jabbing pains in the heart, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and signs of an infection.5
Pericarditis. Doctors say that pericarditis is an inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart. This can cause sharp chest pains that gradually get worse. Sometimes, pericarditis heart pain can become chronic and persistent.6
Aortic dissection. Severe pain in your chest that feels like something is tearing through your chest could be a symptom of aortic dissection. The journal BMC Research Notes, says that a ruptured aortic artery in the chest can be accompanied by pain in the upper back. An aortic dissection can be life-threatening and requires prompt medical treatment.7