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Home » Anxiety and Depression, Heart, Blood, Circulatory

Anxiety and Heart Problems

[3 Mar 2012 | No Comments | | Author: ]
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Most of us lead a stressful life and the pressure to perform has taken its toll on our bodies. All of us have experienced the pangs of anxiety to a certain extent at some time or the other. Some degree of anxiety helps us in performing to the best of our capability and to strive hard for what we desire.

However, when anxiety levels increase, it can result in what we know as an anxiety attack or a panic attack. An anxiety attack can be a one-time event or become recurrent. If such anxiety attacks become severe, they may hamper normal life and such a situation calls for medical intervention to provide effective and adequate anxiety relief.

Identifying the symptoms of an anxiety attack in the early stages and consultation with the caregiver for the requisite treatment can make all the difference. To start with, it is recommended that you opt for natural treatments for anxiety before you move onto stronger medication since these do not have any side effects.

The symptoms of anxiety attack include extreme fear, chest pain, dizziness, heart palpitations and sweating. These symptoms are similar to that of a heart attack and can confuse a person. Hence it is crucial that a right diagnosis be done before opting for a line of treatment. Studies suggest that up to a third of patients admitted in the emergency room with chest pain, who are at low to moderate risk for a heart attack are actually suffering from anxiety attacks or panic attacks. Anxiety attacks are normally identified by the exclusion principle wherein medical tests are conducted to rule out other disease conditions before proceeding with a treatment for anxiety attack.

Anxiety attack and heart problems are related because both these conditions have a common cause in extreme stress. High levels of anxiety can also lead to heart related complications. It has been shown clinically that psychosocial factors like anxiety, anger and emotions are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. In fact when heart complications occur due to anxiety, there is a higher probability of the condition resulting in sudden death.

There have been three well-known cohort studies that prove this. These are the Northwick Park Heart Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up study and Normative Aging Study. Proving this observation further is a report published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, which states that women with phobic anxieties like fear of heights, crowded places and the like are at a higher risk of fatal heart disease as compared to women with fewer or no anxieties. Studies conducted among men also suggest that anxiety is related strongly to sudden cardiac death.

It is therefore imperative that any symptom of anxiety attack should not be taken lightly and one should seek medical help at the earliest. It is you own life that is at risk and hence it is better to be safe than sorry.


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