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Anxiety and heart attack symptoms in women

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 24, 2017
Quick Bites

  • Common signs are rapid heartbeat, breathing difficulty and chest pain.
  • Get your heart examined to see if your heart is healthy.
  • If your heart is healthy, you're experiencing anxiety attacks.

Heart attack in women is often misdiagnosed as an anxiety attack owing to the similar symptoms that both are characteristic of. Chest pain is a symptom of something that has gone very wrong with the heart, but it is not necessarily an indicator of a heart attack.


Heart attack in women


During an anxiety attack, symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, difficulty in breathing and chest pain make people mistake it for a heart attack. Here are a few ways you can recognise whether a woman is experiencing a heart attack or an anxiety attack.


Heart Attack Symptoms

It is believed that heart attacks represent a problem targeting solely older men, but this isn’t the case. Women too are at a risk of heart diseases. According to the Women's Heart Foundation, heart attack symptoms in women are chest pain, tingling or burning in the chest region, extreme indigestion, respiratory problems, dizziness, fatigue, increased heart rate and sweating.



Anxiety attack symptoms

Symptoms of anxiety attack in women are similar to those of a heart attack. Women's Heart Foundation notes that women experiencing a heart attack will feel a sudden and severe sense of fatigue that lasts for a couple of minutes. The fatigue generally recurs after a point of time; this does not happen in the case of a heart attack.


[Read: Did you know Chronic Constipation can also cause Heart attacks and Strokes?]


Anxiety attacks with heart attack-like symptoms

Anxiety attacks have a propensity to stimulate many of the physical symptoms that are similar to those of a heart attack. Chain reactions that trigger the body to produce these symptoms are as follows:

Adrenaline rush – Anxiety attack may lead to adrenaline rush, which causes the heart to beat faster. Moreover, adrenaline rush makes one restless to the extremes.

Hyperventilation – The response of rapid or deep breathing is common with anxiety or panic. It may cause chest pains, shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties. Light-headedness and muscle weakness are among other symptoms that mimic a heart attack.

Hypersensitivity – Anxiety can make your symptoms feel severe. Hypersensitivity is one of the anxiety responses that make an anxiety attack look like a heart attack.

Besides physical symptoms, there can be a host of problems like memory loss, indigestion, etc, to make an anxiety attack feel like a heart attack.


How to differentiate between the two

To figure out the difference between an anxiety attack and heart attack, visit a doctor and get your heart examined. This will tell you if you're suffering from any heart problem. If not, then you're experiencing anxiety attacks. If your heart is in good health, you are less likely to suffer from a heart attack.


[Read: Tips for heart patients during winters]


There are minute differences in symptoms of the two conditions. Chest pain from anxiety is more localised and sharp while pain from a heart attack radiates and is less severe. Another sign is vomiting, a common symptom of heart attacks, which is rare during an anxiety attack. If you are at risk for heart disease and experience heart disease-like symptoms, see a doctor.



Image: Getty

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  • Maheen Ahmed27 Jan 2014

    Once the anxious mind no longer stimulates the stress response, you will instantly start to feel more like your old good self again. Also, you need to learn how to prevent your panic attacks or anxiety from occurring by simply short-circuiting the loop and putting an end to the fear of fear.

  • Salah27 Jan 2014

    Anxiety attacks cause very real physical symptoms that mimic those of a heart attack. Here's how you can differentiate between the two