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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.