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Condition that is often confused with heart attack: Cardiologist's explanation

Condition that is often confused with heart attack: Cardiologist's explanation Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Heart attack is very often confused with a panic attack. Both of these conditions can cause anxiety and intense emotional overstimulation, but they have differences that are important to distinguish in order to know what to do when these conditions actually occur, according to cardiologist Natalia Ivaniuk and Doc.ua.

Main symptoms

A heart attack's main symptoms are pain or tightness in the chest, which may radiate to the arm, neck, or jaw. Severe weakness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting may occur.

A panic attack involves feelings of restlessness, fear, palpitations, sweating, trembling, a sense of loss of control or danger, and physical chest pain.

The cardiologist noted that a heart attack can develop within minutes and, without immediate treatment, can lead to a myocardial infarction.

A panic attack typically lasts from 5 to 20 minutes, and although it can be very frightening, it is not life-threatening.

If you or someone else experiences these symptoms, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Only a qualified doctor can make the correct diagnosis and provide proper treatment.

How to deal with a panic attack on your own

The following methods are considered effective:

  • Remember that this will pass - during a panic attack, remember that these feelings will pass and will not cause physical harm, no matter how frightening they may seem at the time.
  • Breathe deeply - try to breathe slowly and deeply, focusing on each inhalation.
  • Visuals and sounds can often exacerbate a panic attack. If possible, try to find a calmer place.
  • Focus on an object - when you are overwhelmed by anxious thoughts, feelings, or memories, focusing on something physical in your environment can help you feel grounded.
  • Take a walk or do light exercise.
  • Keep lavender handy - this is a traditional remedy that many people use to relieve stress and relaxation.