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Differentiating Between a Heart Attack and a Panic Attack



The signs appear rapidly. Your heart rate spikes, your chest tightens, and you begin to perspire. This is a concerning situation, and your mind is racing trying to figure out what’s going on. Is there a cardiac arrest? Is it a panic attack instead? Confusion and worry are only increased by the fact that it can frequently be challenging to distinguish between the two (particularly if you’ve had neither). Both of these incidents are significant, and in order to receive the appropriate care, it’s critical to identify which one you’re experiencing.

What signs indicate a heart attack?
A heart attack is the result of inadequate blood flow to a portion of the heart. This typically occurs as a result of a clogged artery supplying the heart with blood. Typical signs of a heart attack include:

  • Stress or soreness in the chest.
  • Rapid or pounding heartbeat.
  • Feeling faint or dizzy.
  • Perspiration, especially chilly sweats.
  • Aches and pains throughout the upper torso, including the neck, shoulders, arms, and back.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Throwing up or nausea.
  • A sense of imminent disaster.

Never wait to see if the symptoms go away because a heart attack might be fatal. If you experience any of the symptoms of a heart attack, get help right away.

What signs indicate a panic attack?
An intense, abrupt bout of fear or anxiety is known as a panic attack. Although they don’t pose a threat to life, panic attacks can negatively impact your mental and overall well-being.

An anxiety disorder called panic disorder may be present in those who experience panic attacks frequently or on a regular basis. However, anyone can experience an isolated panic episode; a diagnosis of panic disorder is not necessary.

Panic attacks can cause sudden, intense emotions of fear and worry.

  • Pain in the chest.
    Breathing difficulties.
  • A sense of imminent disaster.
  • Rapid or pounding heartbeat.
  • Perspiring.
    · Trembling or swaying.
  • Feeling weak or faint.
  • Nausea or stomach aches.

What distinguishes a heart attack from a panic attack
Where the suffering is
Chest pain is a common symptom of both heart attacks and panic episodes, but they are not the same. Pain from a heart attack might spread to other parts of the body, such as the neck, jaw, or arm. The discomfort will usually remain in the chest if it is a panic attack.

Pressure in the chest
having the sensation of an elephant resting on your chest or being squeezed. Similar to heartburn, an aching or burning feeling.

Sharp or stabbing pain (not usually associated with a heart attack) is a common cause of panic attacks. a speeding heartbeat or an inexplicable pain in the chest.

The catalysts
Heart attacks frequently follow physical strain or exertion, which is a symptom that is absent from panic attacks. A heart attack could occur after climbing a steep flight of stairs or shoveling snow. However, unless there was an accompanying mental stress trigger, you wouldn’t experience a panic attack after exercising.

But what if you experience the sensations at night? You can be awakened from sleep by a heart attack or a panic attack. One important distinction is that individuals who experience nocturnal, or midnight, panic episodes frequently also experience daytime panic attacks.

Therefore, if you don’t have a history of panic attacks and you wake up with chest discomfort or other symptoms, that could be an indication of a heart attack.

How much time does it last?
The duration of a panic episode might range from a few minutes to an hour. After then, the symptoms go away and you start to feel better. A heart attack, though, won’t go away. Heart attack pain and symptoms may not stop or may worsen and then return in waves. Severe chest pain, rated as a 9 or 10 on the pain scale, can be brought on by heart attacks. Later on, the discomfort might only reach a 3 or 4 before getting worse once more. The discomfort may vary, but it won’t go away.

Be cautious when dealing with signs of a heart attack and chest pain.
A medical emergency is a heart attack. Panic attacks are not. However, distinguishing between them can be challenging due to their similar symptoms. Avoid taking chances. Seek emergency medical attention if you have chest discomfort or other heart attack symptoms, or if you’re unsure whether it’s a panic attack or a heart attack.


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