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Panic Attack Causing Heart Disease

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Old 09-11-2009, 04:45 PM   #1
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Panic Attack Causing Heart Disease

I'm 39 years old and have suffered from panic attacks since I was about 27 years old. I have had numerous EKGs, been to the emergency room on numerous occasions, passed a thallium treadmill test and underwent a sonogram of my heart. I have also had blood tests on the number of occasions and none of the tests that I have ever taken have ever shown any positive risk factors for heart disease. In addition, I try to exercise a couple of times a week although I haven't been able to do so recently because of work obligations.

I used to experience severe panic attacks a number of years ago and did some Internet research at that time. At that time, it was my understanding that panic attacks were basically harmless and an inconvenience. I went for a couple of years having only the occasional panic attack (maybe once a month) and now I'm having panic attacks more frequently to the point that they are almost a daily occurrence. I've been conducting some Internet research again and, for the most part, my research has been consistent with what I found previously.

Specifically, looking at the opinions of the Mayo Clinic and Web M.D., for example, they list a number of potential complications from panic attacks and panic disorders, but nothing that specifically implicates long-term heart problems. However, I came across an article that was posted on the Johns Hopkins website that indicates that a study was done that showed that elderly individuals who suffered numerous panic attacks were predisposed to heart disease (I am paraphrasing the findings of the study).

This is on the Johns Hopkins website and is not found on numerous other websites. I did find many references to the study that appears to be somewhat isolated. I am more concerned about panic attacks causing heart attacks (as opposed to heart disease). Does anyone have any information or opinions relating to this? Thanks

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Old 09-15-2009, 05:43 PM   #2
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Re: Panic Attack Causing Heart Disease

Sure, I would imagine that a panic attack could cause a heart attack in someone with an already week heart. Itís also well known that chronic stress and anxiety over the long term can contribute to heart disease do to the constant release of stress hormones into the blood, specifically cortisal. If you have suffered from panic attacks for the last 12 years, then I would say it is time do get them under control even if it means some type of medication, therapy or both. The main thing is to get your anxiety under control and you can work out the details later.

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