When you’re experiencing a panic attack, it can feel like a heart attack. The physical symptoms are often very similar, and the mental symptoms can be just as overwhelming. It’s no wonder many people mistake panic attack vs heart attack – and vice versa. This blog post will explore the nine most significant mistakes you can make when distinguishing between a panic attack and a heart attack. We’ll also give you some tips on how to avoid making these mistakes in the future.
Symptoms of a panic attack
When someone has a panic attack, it can be tough to tell whether they are also experiencing a heart attack. This is because the symptoms of a panic attack can typically mimic the symptoms of a heart attack. However, some critical differences between the two can help you to determine which one it is.
The most common symptom of a panic attack is a feeling of overwhelming anxiety or fear. This can accompany physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and shaking. These symptoms can last for several minutes or even up to an hour.
In contrast, the most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort lasting more than a few minutes. This pain may radiate to your jaw, neck, or arms. You may also experience shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats. If you think you might have a heart attack, it’s crucial to call 911 immediately and get to the hospital as soon as possible.
Symptoms of a heart attack
When it comes to a heart attack, there are specific symptoms that you should be aware of. These include chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, and cold sweats. If you experience any of these symptoms, seeking medical attention immediately is essential, as they could indicate a heart attack.
Knowing the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack is essential, as the two can often be confused. Panic attacks typically cause intense fear, anxiety, and physical symptoms like rapid breathing or a pounding heart. While some symptoms may be similar, panic attacks usually don’t last as long as a heart attack and don’t pose the same risks.
How to tell the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack
There are several key things to keep in mind when it comes to the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack:
- A panic attack is typically characterized by a sudden onset of fear or anxiety, whereas a heart attack typically occurs more gradually.
- Physical symptoms of a panic attack tend to be more fleeting and less intense than those associated with a heart attack.
- While someone having a panic attack may feel like they are dying or going crazy, someone having a heart attack will typically not experience such extreme psychological symptoms.
What to do if you think you have a heart attack
If you think you may be having a heart attack, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Do not hesitate to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
There are a few things you can do in the meantime to help ease your symptoms and keep yourself calm:
1. Sit down and rest.
2. Place a cold compress on your chest or forehead.
3. Try to take slow, deep breaths.
4. Stay positive and remind yourself that you will get through this.
What to do if you think you have a panic attack
If you think you have a panic attack, the first thing you should do is try to stay calm. Reminding yourself that this is just a feeling that will pass can be helpful. Try to focus on your breath and breathe slowly and evenly. You may also find it beneficial to close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing place. If these techniques don’t work, or you feel like losing control, you must seek medical help. Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you think you have a heart attack.
When to see a doctor
If you think you may have a heart attack, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible. Heart attacks can be fatal, so getting medical help as quickly as possible is vital.
Some signs may mean you are having a heart attack, including:
— Chest pain or discomfort that lasts for more than a few minutes
— Pain or discomfort in other areas of the body, such as the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
— Shortness of breath
— Nausea or vomiting
— Lightheadedness or dizziness
— An irregular heartbeat
There are a few critical differences between panic attacks and heart attacks, and it’s essential to know them so that you can seek the proper treatment if necessary. With that said, the nine most significant mistakes people make when trying to distinguish between the two are:
- Assuming that chest pain means it’s a heart attack.
- Thinking that shortness of breath is only a symptom of a heart attack.
- Ignoring other potential symptoms like dizziness or sweating.
- Failing to seek medical help immediately.
- Not taking their medications as prescribed.
- Not following up with their doctor for further evaluation.
- Skipping follow-up appointments.
- Avoiding triggers rather than dealing with them head-on.
- Self-diagnosing rather than seeking professional help.