Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Heart Attack

Get Email Updates

Heart Attack Guide

Christine Jeffries

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

A Woman’s Heart, Anxiety vs. Heart Attack

By Mary Kyle Blogger
 
Rate This

There is no doubt that women today are under more stress than ever. One of the “gifts” left to us by the women’s liberation movement is that we not only get to fry-the-bacon-up-in-a-pan at night, but we are also frequently out there in the workforce bringing-home-the-bacon as well.

Add to that the demands of children, homework, soccer practice, PTA, church and other civic activities, our cup truly RUNS over! Super Girl has nothing on us! It’s no wonder that heart disease is the number one killer of women. Sisters, we have STRESS in our lives!

Just how bad our stress level really is was recently brought home in a very real way to me. One of my best girlfriends just had the “pleasure” of a one-night stay at the local heart “hotel” (hospital). This definitely wasn’t her destination when she left for work that morning. She’s a single-parent of two small preschool children. She’s a widow and has no backup at home. (Are we getting the stress level picture yet?) In addition, she works for a company that’s been laying off workers for months and outsourcing jobs overseas. She’s been working 70-80 hour work weeks for months in an effort to ensure her job stays in the good old USA. (Bingo! Stress level gets a 120%!)

As she recalls it, her chest began pounding and hurting unbearably. She was short of breath and couldn’t breathe - sick to her stomach, sweating, dizzy and lightheaded. The pain radiated down her left arm. She tried to ignore it for a while but as the day progressed, the symptoms only increased in intensity. Finally, she phoned the nurse on call with her insurance company who promptly sent her straight to the hospital for evaluation.

Fortunately, this hospital visit had a happy ending. She was diagnosed with a panic or anxiety attack. Some of the symptoms of a panic attack are similar to those of a heart attack. Panic attack symptoms include: chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, hyperventilation (very rapid breathing), and dizziness/faintness. In addition, a panic attack may also be accompanied by a sense of fear or impending disaster.

Add a Comment23 Comments

Bryan Johnson

Well, the first time I had a major panic attack and anxiety attack, the doctor put me on xanax treatment but it messed with my head really badly and I had memory issues. My discharge papers noted that while medicated by it I had little to no acknowledgement of externally inflicted bodily harm/pain. What I do remember is waking up the next day with a swollen ankle and multiple bruises that hurry like hell from walking into things or just letting the car door close on me. I was a living hell!
Later, a friend recommended me this treatment, and I’m very grateful with it, i can go anywhere i want without problem, no anxiety, no panic attacks, i'm a new person now. Watch this review, it helped me a lot and i hope that it could be a help for you : www.panicsolutionkey.com

June 3, 2014 - 6:23am
frmeital

Chest pain from anxiety can really feel just the same as a heart attacks and it's very frightening. Here's a quick technique that stops anxiety-induced chest pain in less than a minute: http://www.natural-alternative-therapies.com/chest-pain-and-anxiety/

September 8, 2013 - 12:59am
Paul Bond

It is common for individuals to see a women heart attack and symptoms associated with it as a panic or anxiety attack. When a woman is having a panic or anxiety attack, it is common for her body to start making a large amount of hormones. Hormones will lead to different changes in our body which leads to heart attacks. The best way to prevent women heart attack is to see your doctor before it occurs.

April 20, 2013 - 2:49am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I have been having what i think are panic attacks for about 5 months now. i have had 3 ekgs ( one was done while i was having an attack) 2 sets of bloodwork, a back and chest x-ray, and an ultrasound, all of which were normal. i am a 28 year old female with no heart problems throughout my life and no knowledge of heart problems in my immediate family ( not at a young age anyway) also 3 doctors have listened to my heart and everytime they check my bp it is fine. i sometimes get the shortness of breath but i don't feel it when my mind is distracted,and i have the chest discomfort sometimes. is this just anxiety or should i still worry about my heart.

January 15, 2013 - 1:21pm
anxietyangel Blogger

This is a great post. I know when I experienced my first panic attack, I was sure I was having a heart attack. It was the absolute scariest moment of my life. Thank you for sharing this with us, Mary!

June 17, 2012 - 6:56am
Mary Kyle Blogger (reply to anxietyangel)

I love your name - anxietyangel - - I LIKE IT!!!!

My first panic attack was no fun.  I was scared but pretty sure that it was a just a panic attack (thought I was too young for heart disease) but my doctor sent me straight to the ER and wouldn't even see me in the office. At the time, I was mad since the ER is obviously more expensive than an office visit. But then, I didn't know then what I know now about heart disease. In retrospect, he made the right call because you really don't know and unfortunately, there is no such thing as being too young for a heart problem.  I know a young woman who just had her first heart attack at age 31. Scary. 

Thanks so much for reading & taking time to post.  I appreciate it!  Mary

 

July 8, 2012 - 9:51pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I forgot something else in that last comment. The ekg, xray & ct scan were normal. My heart rate is about 60-70 at resting, and I'm always conscious of every breath I take. Which in turn makes me feel like I'm hyperventilating often, & I get out of breath doing small things that I shouldn't get winded from. I also quit smoking a week after I left the hospital. All you women on here are so strong, someone help me feel that way.

February 12, 2012 - 6:58pm
Mary Kyle Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon... You had a terrible experience at the hospital. Because you're young and at a healthy weight, they may have not viewed you as a candidate for a heart problem HOWEVER, that's not an excuse. The truth is that sometimes people have heart trouble who don't fit the "mold."  I know you mentioned that you don't have insurance and I can related to that because I was recently without insurance for over two years. But, if you're still having trouble, you need to see a doctor. I'm sorry that the hospital let you leave without giving you answers. You are your own best health advocate. Since they didn't give you answers - go find a doctor who will. It's possible that there is something else physical causing these symptoms other than heart disease.  You might want to see an internal medicine doctor and have the results from the hospital tests sent to the doctor. They may be able to help you determine if something else is causing this or if it's heart related.  Or, you could go directly to a cardiologist and have them look at the records and go over current symptoms.  Regardless of what you choose, I'd recommend making a list of your questions and taking them into the appointment with you and don't leave until they've answered your questions or given you a plan for how they are going to get the information needed to answer your questions.  You are your own best advocate  - don't be afraid to stand your ground about your health if you aren't getting answers. 

I don't mean to sound hard but when I was your age, I was sick and kept having doctors brush me off  - very patronizing and sent me away.  It turned out that I have a chronic incurable condition that could have been treated years before if they'd listened to me. It wasn't until one of them made me so mad that I decided I wouldn't put up with it anymore and found a doctor who actually took the time to listen. When they finally listened, they were able to diagnose. My one regret is that I didn't get aggressive about my healthcare sooner. I knew I was sick but the professionals said I wasn't.  Doctors are people just like us and sometimes make mistakes. If you're still having problems, find a doctor who will listen and don't be afraid to be your own advocate. Good luck and keep us posted.

Mary

March 26, 2012 - 7:58pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hello everyone on here. I'm looking for some advice, as soon as possible actually. I'm 21 years old, and on the 2nd of january this year, a little over a month ago, I spent the night in the ER because I was experiencing chest pain & pressure & what I felt like was an irregular heart beat. They rushed me in, asked me questions & asked me to disrobe from the waste up for an EKG. as I laid there, nervous & scared starting at my fiancée standing in the corner, they took 6 vials of blood. Shortly after they moved me into a room, hooked me up to a heart monitor to hero track of my heart rate & my blood pressure every hour. Then they took an x-ray of my chest & I waited...for 3 hours, for anyone to get back to me. At that point I was going to leave, I looked at my fiancée n said I guess there's no rush to help the chest pain girl, n he went to get my nurse. She came in & asked me if they came to get me for my CT Scan yet. I said no, & no ones seen me in hours why do I need a cat scan? She told me the doctor wanted to make sure I didn't have a pulmonary embolism. I looked to my fiancée once again, he told me you can wait for it or we can leave. I waited. It was scary & it hurt. But an hour later, at 3 in the morning, my doctor told me I was fine. I was free to go. But I left with no answer to my questions. Why did I feel this way? I was fine for about a week or so, & then out of no where I began to feel the pain again. Its usually anywhere in my chest, sometimes on my left side around or under my breast. Sometimes in the middle or right side too. N its always worse at night, especially the pressure, its intense. So much so that I can't get to sleep, I feel like I will stop breathing if I don't make a conscious effort to remember to breathe. Every breath i.take all day is like that. this pain on a scale of 1 to 10 is anywhere from a 4 to a 7, its more annoying & scary than anything. I feel like they missed something & I'm going to die.suddenly. My heart rate is low I think, but my fiancée & mother say thats normal. I'm 21, I'm 5' 2'', 120 lbs, I'm in good shape but don't work out every day or eat the best things. My mother has anxiety n has taken 1 mg of lorazepam (ativan) every day since I can remember. I just don't want to let this go if its really bad. Besides the chest pain I have pain in my back, shoulders & arms. Today I thought I had jaw pain. I'm freaking myself out. But this is almost a month its been happening. I'm always tired, SO tired, but idk if thats bc the lack of sleep or something else. I feel out of breath more than I don't. I'm scared. The only thing holding me back from going back to the ER is the $6,480 bill I have sitting here because I have no insurance. Someone help please.

February 12, 2012 - 6:49pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

This is a great inspiring article. I am pretty much pleased with your good work. You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.

February 8, 2012 - 12:23pm
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1894 Health

Changed

783 Lives

Saved

651 Lives
10 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do you know the differences between heart attacks signs in men and women? :
View Results