Cardiovascular Events, Panic Attacks May Go Hand In Hand
Women who are prone to panic attacks may be more likely to have a stroke or heart attack, according to recent research.
In the study, which included 3,369 postmenopausal women, those who had a panic attack during a six-month period were more than three times as likely to have a stroke or heart attack during a five-year follow-up period. Panic attacks were common, affecting 10% of the women in the study.
Other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, have already been associated with heart problems in previous research, according to the study’s co-author. This study didn’t explain how the conditions may be linked, but the panic attack may influence the heart’s rhythm, or it may unleash stress hormones that are bad for the heart.
In addition, some of the symptoms of a panic attack – racing heartbeat, chest discomfort, and difficulty breathing – can also be caused by heart problems.
If you have panic attacks, it may be particularly important for you and your doctor to monitor your cardiovascular risk, say doctors familiar with panic and heart problems.
Additional information on the study referenced can be found by searching "Panic Attacks" in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
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