Afib, or Atrial Fibrillation, occurs when the top two chambers of your heart beat erratically and out of rhythm with the lower two chambers. This can happen in short bursts or show up as a chronic condition. Afib symptoms are usually sharp and immediate. Those with Afib have reported feeling including dizziness, weakness, fatigue and chest pain.
You may be experiencing atrial fibrillation if you feel:
People with anxiety will also recognize these signs, as they can also be signs of a panic attack. While the signs are similar, the causes are very different, so it is important to understand the differences between the two.
The main difference between Afib and a panic attack is what makes it happen. Afib has a physical trigger that sends a surge of electrical impulses through your heart, causing it to get out of sync with itself. In this case, there might be no external factors or warning signs to let you know you are about to have an episode.
Panic attacks, on the other hand, usually come from a source of stress or anxiety. This psychological pressure then results in the physical pain of an anxiety attack.
Understandably, it’s hard to tell what exactly is happening in the moment. However, knowing how to tell the difference between the two can make a big difference.
The first step in dealing with any issue is knowing exactly what’s causing the problem. In this case, there is a specific Afib screening that doctors can do to find out if it’s at the root of what’s causing you discomfort.
There are several ways that doctors can screen for Afib, including a chest x-ray, blood test or a stress test. However, the most popular is an EKG screening, which is painless, non-invasive, and doesn’t require the removal of any clothing.
The main benefit of an Afib screening is that once you know the source of your condition, doctors can put together a strategy to treat it. If you’re curious, there is plenty of information available on how to best prepare for a screening.
While they are two separate issues, there are studies that suggest anxiety can trigger Afib episodes. This can be good news and bad news for those who suffer from anxiety.
It’s not the easiest thing to do, but those with AfIb can lower their chances of an episode by finding ways to keep their stress levels down. Anxiety can make Afib worse, so avoiding any kind of anxiety triggers is even more important than usual for people who have both.
There are all kinds of methods and resources available to help people reduce stress and anxiety levels. Some of the ones you’re probably familiar with are healthy exercise, taking nutritional supplements and using a licensed therapist.
Those are great, but people who also have Afib should focus on methods that control and steady their heartbeat. Breathing exercises are particularly helpful, as well as simple things like listening to soothing music and always doing your best to remove yourself from stressful situations. If you’d like a guide, there are lots of excellent mindfulness apps you can try that are completely free.
If you suffer from chronic anxiety symptoms, you should definitely speak to your doctor if you haven’t already.
Lowering your risk for anxiety attacks is hard; stressful situations are just a part of life. But if you can find the things that work best for you and cut down on just a few sources of stress, you’ll be doing a lot better. And, of course, just being healthier, in general, is always going to make you feel better, mentally and physically.
Lowering stress levels naturally has a positive impact on your overall health and decreases your likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation. Besides that, there are lots of different lifestyle choices you can make to keep your heart healthy:
At Life Line Screening, we have 20+ years of experience helping people by providing vital early detection services, and we urge you to share the results of your screenings with your doctor. If you have any urgent concerns about your health, please go directly to your physician for examination.