When your heart doesn’t feel right, it’s a very scary experience. Whether you’re experiencing pain in your chest or your heart seems to be beating so fast you can’t count the beats, your nerves may be on edge.
But did you know that anxiety can mimic heart problems, especially a fast heart rate?
At the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute, we’re skilled experts at telling the difference between real heart issues and those caused by your nerves. Dr. Hesham Fakhri and Dr. Abdulghani Saadi are our cardiac specialists. They take your symptoms seriously, no matter what the cause.
The facts on anxiety
You most likely have experienced anxiety at some point in your life. It could be a flutter in your stomach before a first date or a jittery feeling before you have to speak in front of a crowd. These feelings are all normal and usually go away on their own.
But in some cases, anxiety sticks around for the long haul. This mental health condition can trigger frequent episodes of panic and worry, sometimes leading to scary and debilitating panic attacks.
Some of the signs of anxiety are normal. In fact, you probably have felt them more than once in your life. These symptoms can include sweating, queasy stomach, and nervousness. You might even feel tension in your shoulders or your neck.
But in the case of more severe anxiety, you may experience symptoms that make you feel like you’re having a heart attack. While this is very scary, it usually is harmless and not actually caused by heart troubles.
Symptoms that mimic heart trouble
When you suffer from anxiety, you may feel like your heart is about to beat out of your chest. These heart palpitations happen when your heart rate becomes very fast. This can be due to a cardiac condition or an anxiety attack.
When you have anxiety, your palpitations are most likely caused by a fight-or-flight response, which comes from your autonomic nervous system. It’s activated when you perceive a threat to yourself or someone else, whether it’s real or perceived.
When your autonomic nervous system is activated, it regulates certain parts of your body including your heart, lungs, and digestive system. This is why you may feel symptoms such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
While these happen often with anxiety attacks, don’t assume that’s the case. Contact us immediately to ensure it’s not something more severe.
When to see a doctor
If you routinely suffer from anxiety and heart palpitations, but they go away on their own after the episode has subsided, you don’t necessarily need to get checked out.
But if your palpitations come and go even when you aren’t feeling anxious or continue for more than a few minutes, contact us. They could be due to a more serious condition.
Seek medical attention if you have heart palpitations that are accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Profuse sweating
- Chest pain or heaviness
- Trouble breathing
Also, if you experience aching or pain in your jaw or neck, seek immediate medical help.
Don’t hesitate to call us if your heart is just not feeling as it should. Contact one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, to schedule an appointment today.