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  • Trouble discerning heart attacks from panic attacks, need advice.

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    Old 06-15-2006, 12:10 AM   #1
    mr_panicky's Avatar
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    Trouble discerning heart attacks from panic attacks, need advice.

    I was checking symptoms of a heart attack and they mirror those of anxiety/panic attacks. How are we to know the difference?

    I am 30 years old, 6'1" 275lbs. non-smoker

    One day at work I had a major skipped beat or extra beat and it scared the crap out of me. I checked my pulse in my wrist in the wrong spot and I had a panic attack cause I thought my heart was failing.

    Next week I had another panic attack and go to the ER and the Doc says that my EKG was normal and to go see a Dr for my concern about my heart.

    I was 317lbs and I became concerned about my health/heart and started eating healthier.

    My doc said since I said I had a mild chest pain that having a treadmill stress test was a good idea for peace of mind.

    I passed my stress test and they put me on blood pressure medicine. 10mg

    I then had a couple more panic attacks and I requested a nuclear stress test and echocardiagram. There was a mix-up and I got a dobutamine stress test with an echocardiagram and the results were normal.

    All these tests occured since mid March 2006.

    Today I see a cardiologist due to my Dr wanting me to have peace pf mind and to get the opinion of since a cardiologist is a specialist.

    Since all went well with my tests would I be safe to assume that the likelyhood of me having a heart attack is small and my heart is healthy?

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    Old 06-15-2006, 12:52 AM   #2
    Join Date: May 2006
    Location: Budgewoi, NSW, Australia
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    Re: Trouble discerning heart attacks from panic attacks, need advice.

    Hello Mr panicky

    I know what your going through there, I feel the same way, infact I just had a panic when I missed a few heart beats or had added ones what ever.

    Im 39 non drinker and non smoker and not over weight but like you worry about the symtoms I get, that are the same as heart attack.

    I think if you have had all the tests and they have come back normal then you will be ok.

    Can I ask you a question????????????
    do you ever feel they might be missing something rare? Because thats how I feel. I am so scarred of that.

    So let me know how you go, your not alone in the way you feel.

    Take care


    Last edited by aussichick; 06-15-2006 at 01:21 AM. Reason: because I spell like a five year old

    Old 06-15-2006, 05:25 AM   #3
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    Re: Trouble discerning heart attacks from panic attacks, need advice.

    YES!!!!!!!!! I worry about this everyday. I get symptoms that could be a heart attack and instantly get nervous that it is my heart even though several doctors have said my heart is fine. Ive had every test there is other than a cardiac cath. I want to have that done but the risk worry me, that WHAT IF my heart is fine and i have that test and something goes wrong, then i had it for nothing so im torn between what i should do. I get aches/pains and that brings on the anxiety and panic attacks. I have looked several times and the symptoms of anxiety are the same as a heart attack and i worry alot about that. They say women can have different signs and have them for months before an actual heart attack. I have trouble breathing sometimes (SOB), anxiety, heart burn, fatigue, pain in my left jaw, weakness, palps. Now i dont always have them all at the same time but i usually have one or two every day so i think its a warning that im going to have a heart attack soon. I have been like this since the end of March and im sick of living like this, its everyday. I take half of a .5 ativan twice a day to try to keep me relaxed, some days it helps and some it does not, so yes i know exactly how you feel.

    Old 06-15-2006, 09:27 AM   #4
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    Re: Trouble discerning heart attacks from panic attacks, need advice.

    I think you can assume you are fine for now and continue on your path to a healthy weight, which will put less stress on your heart. Go for regular checkups each year, or when you are sick and feel something is wrong.

    With a heart attack, you will feel pain in your chest, your jaw, neck, your back or down one or both of your arms. I believe the pain is greater than with a panic attack. You might also have trouble breathing and you may break out into a sweat or become nauseous. An EKG would've picked up any sign of heart damage from a heart attack. I guess if you aren't sure the difference between the two, you should just go to the ER and be checked. An EKG doesn't take much time to do if you can get in. My doctor has one in the office...maybe yours does too.

    Last edited by SRMom; 06-15-2006 at 09:28 AM.

    Old 06-15-2006, 10:04 AM   #5
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    Re: Trouble discerning heart attacks from panic attacks, need advice.

    I understand your missery.I too was obsessed with thinking there must be a heart problem.I get left arm,shoulder pains off and on.I also get left sided facial numbness sometimes.A few small chest pains at times........and I get the heart palps skips,flutter,quivers,pauses,thumps they come and go.
    I agree with SRmom sounds like your heart is healthy and you should try and keep the focus on losing the wieght and getting fit.I think if you reach your goal you probably wont worry so much about your heart anymore.Know this....millions of people have heart palpitations and they are almost always benign! They happen to pretty much everyone some just notice them more or have them more often.I have had my heart feel like it paused on me for about 20 seconds before scared the heck out of me but I was fine.I have been told my heart is fine too.
    I now speed walk 3 miles almost everyday I do get worn kinda of easy but im just starting to get back in shape so that happens.Let me tell you to exercising has helped my with the anxiety a GREAT deal.Exercise relieves stress which in turn relieves anxiety and you feel like your accomplishing something too when your pants start getting bigger on you.You have already lost a good amount of weight keep it up it will keep your mind busy!

    Old 06-16-2006, 01:41 AM   #6
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    Re: Trouble discerning heart attacks from panic attacks, need advice.

    I would seriously suggest losing weight. I was 18 stone last year and my blood pressure was high and I had palpitations... I decided it was time to go on adiet before I damaged my health and have since lost 5 stone. I now have perfect blood pressure and very few palpitations, unless I am having real bad anxiety. I have noticed you post alot about your heart, so do the best you can by it and commit to get fit!! I exercise an hour a day as well and that will help you lose the wieght alot faster and speed your metabolsim up so you find that you are not starving yourself but eating sensibly. Good luck!!

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