Difference between Anxiety and Heart Attack

Key difference: Heart attack is heart condition, whereas, anxiety is a feeling of fear, unease, and worry.

Heart attack is heart condition, whereas, anxiety is a feeling of fear, unease, and worry. Anxiety and heart attack are two distinct conditions, however it may be difficult for somebody to tell them apart, as they have some similar symptoms.

Anxiety is a response to a stressor. You feel anxious when you are stressed, for example when you have to take a test or give an interview, etc. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, unease, and worry. It can be rooted in any even that makes one feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. In small doses, it is healthy and useful, as it makes one alert and able to deal with the stressor. Usually when the stressor is removed or it is dealt with, the anxiety ends, sometimes it doesn’t, which can lead to anxiety disorders.

The most common symptoms of anxiety include a faster heart rate, skipped heartbeats, rapid breathing, cold sweat, nausea, trembling and dizziness. If the anxiety worsens, the symptoms may also include loose stools, frequent urination, dry mouth and problems swallowing. Feelings of anxiety are common in people who feel depressed and sad. Also, major life changes may bring on anxiety. These can include starting a new job or school, moving away, an upcoming marriage, having children, break-ups or divorce.

On the other hand, heart attacks are a physical and medical condition. Most heart attacks are caused by a blood clot that blocks one of the coronary arteries. Plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the heart. The plaque increases the chances of blood clots. These blood clots can partially or completely block blood flow, leading to a heart attack. A heart attack is when the heart gets no oxygen at all, and the heart muscle starts dying.

Another reason for a heart attack could be a severe spasm or tightening of a coronary artery. The spasm cuts off blood flow through the artery, which leads to an attack. These spasms can occur in coronary arteries that do not have plaque built up. The symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, light-headedness, sudden dizziness, or cold sweat.

As some of these symptoms are similar to those of anxiety, it may hard for the person experiencing them to differentiate. One way to do so is pain. If in addition to light-headedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and cold sweat, one experiences pain in the chest or the upper body, then it is a heart attack. In the absence of pain, it is most probably anxiety. However, it symptoms worsen, or if the person is still not sure, or if it is a heart attack, one should seek medical services immediately.

Image Courtesy: workplacepsychology.wordpress.com, topnews.net.nz

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