ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

A majority of people tend to confuse a panic attack with a heart attack and fret due to this but you need to understand that a panic attack and a heart attack are two different things. Do not ignore them both as doing so can be problematic for you hence, read on as we tell you the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack.

Panic attack vs heart attack signs: Here's how to differentiate between their symptoms (Pixabay)
Panic attack vs heart attack signs: Here's how to differentiate between their symptoms (Pixabay)

The symptoms of a heart attack:

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai, explained, “A heart attack occurs when the heart doesn’t get the required amount of blood. This is usually witnessed when the artery supplying blood to the heart tends to get blocked. Common heart attack symptoms are chest pain or pressure, pounding or racing heart, feeling lightheaded or faint, sweating, including cold sweats, jaw, neck, and shoulder pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. Heart attacks are dangerous and can cause death.”

The red flag of a panic attack:

Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre elaborated, “A panic attack is seen when a sudden attack of overwhelming fear or anxiety takes place. Panic attacks are not dangerous, but they interfere with your quality of life and overall well-being. People who have regular or frequent panic attacks may have a panic disorder, a type of anxiety disorder. The symptoms are sudden anxiety and fear, chest pain, breathing problems, sweating, shaking or trembling, dizziness and nausea.”

How to differentiate between a heart attack and a panic attack?

Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre answered, “Both panic and heart attacks invite chest pain. When one has a heart attack the pain will spread to other areas like the arm, jaw, or neck but during a panic attack, the pain will only be felt in the chest. Heart attacks happen after physical exertion and panic attacks are seen after a stressful situation. You can get a heart attack after exercising but not a panic attack. If one is having chest pain or other symptoms and doesn’t have a history of panic attacks then it can indicate a heart attack. The panic attack will be there for some time and one will feel better but the symptoms of a heart attack may worsen and one will need immediate hospital admission. People having anxiety, depression or chronic stress may have chances of heart problems. A heart attack is a medical emergency and timely intervention is key to save the life of the patient.”

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