Anxiety and heart conditions share many of the same symptoms, but they are very different health concerns. Anxiety, or panic attacks, are the body’s natural response to a fight-or-flight situation, while heart attacks occur when blood is unable to flow through the heart’s arteries, depriving the body of oxygen.
Take this quiz to test your knowledge on the differences between a heart attack and anxiety.
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Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Anxiety chest pain is frequently described as a sharp, stabbing sensation that starts suddenly, even if the person is inactive. However, the person may be feeling stressed or anxious already before the chest pain begins.
The major symptoms of a heart attack are:
Signs of a panic attack include:
Common symptoms that may affect patients with either a panic or heart attack include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, passing out, tingling, or a sensation of impending doom.
A panic attack usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes, hitting its peak at about 10 minutes in.
Anxiety attacks can cause you to feel nauseous, but rarely cause vomiting.
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A heart attack can cause pain or discomfort in the following areas of the upper body:
When someone is anxious, their body reacts in ways that can put an extra strain on their heart. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be especially damaging among individuals with existing cardiac disease.
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