Emotional and mental health


How to Distinguish a Heart Attack from a Panic Attack

Every disease or health event has a number of distinct symptoms. However, in some cases, the signs of different health issues may be very alike. It is especially true when we speak about a heart attack and a panic attack.

A timely understanding of what is happening to you may save your life. That’s why it is so important to know the symptoms of both conditions.

The symptoms of heart attack

Men and women may have different symptoms of heart attack. This should also be taken into account when you suspect that something is wrong with your heart. To the first and major signs of heart attack belong:

  • Pain, discomfort, pressure or tightness in the chest. These feelings may gradually radiate to arms, neck, jaw or back. However, in men, it may manifest through chest discomfort only, without any acute pain sensations.
  • Difficulties with breathing, you may ”lack air”.
  • Nausea, vomiting.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, sweating.

In case you have a heart attack, the symptoms will rapidly get worse. Besides, changing your body position won’t change the situation.

The signs of a panic attack

Though the two kinds of attacks seem quite alike, still they have some differences. If you are going through a panic attack, you are going to feel:

  • Sharp pain in a small and distinct area of the chest (usually in the middle);
  • Racing heartbeat;
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet;
  • Faintness, shortness of breath;
  • Nausea, vomiting.

It is clearly seen that the bulk of symptoms coincide. However, a panic attack is also accompanied by the feeling of terror and loss of self-control. Besides, pain in the chest lasts only for several second and may be eased by pushing on the area of pain or changing your body’s position.

panic attack

In addition, you may try to take control over the emotions. In case you succeed and the symptoms relieve, you are definitely dealing with a panic attack. Nevertheless, if you have even a tint of doubt, you’d better turn for medical help.

A doctor can perform the needed procedures to determine what kind of attack you have. Based on the results of the tests he will be able to prescribe the needed treatment.

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