Both panic attacks and heart attacks can occur suddenly and produce similar symptoms.

These episodes can include chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, and a sense of dread.

However, a heart attack is a serious emergency that necessitates immediate medical assistance, with timing being crucial.

Therefore, it is essential to be able to promptly identify the event and seek help.

Fortunately, Dr. Amir Khan has shared a “major difference” that can help distinguish between the two.

During an appearance on ITV’s show Lorraine, Dr. Khan stated, “The major difference is that a panic attack can occur at any time, even while resting or sleeping, and it can wake you up.”

“On the other hand, a heart attack usually occurs during exertion, and the pain is not confined to the chest.”

He continued, “For many people, it can radiate down the arm, up into the jaw or neck area.”

“With panic attacks, the pain eventually subsides, whereas with heart attacks, it tends to persist.”

Contrary to popular belief that heart attacks primarily affect men, more than 30,000 women in the UK are admitted to the hospital due to this medical emergency, as explained by the British Heart Foundation.

It is also important to note that women may experience heart attack symptoms differently from men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women may have signs such as unusual or unexplained tiredness, nausea, or vomiting.

However, Dr. Amir added that if one cannot determine whether they are experiencing a heart attack or a panic attack, it is advisable to seek medical help.

“If you are unsure whether you are having a panic attack or a heart attack, it is better to err on the side of caution and call 999,” he advised. “The paramedics can assist you in making a determination.”

Managing Panic Attacks

Dr. Amir emphasized the importance of breathing exercises and redirecting your thoughts away from stressors.

He recommended a simple writing exercise where you list three things that you are positive or grateful for and focus on those.

“Shift the spotlight from negative thoughts to more positive ones,” he suggested.



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