Updated: May 24
Stress and anxiety, it seems, is something that comes with the 'adulting' territory, especially these days. And while you should definitely take any anxiety you experience seriously, sometimes, that anxiety you're experiencing could be something more sinister. But how do you know if it's anxiety or a heart problem?
Anxiety can most definitely cause physical symptoms. Chest pain, abnormal heart rate, heart palpitations, dizziness, and more are all fairly common symptoms of generalised anxiety and a panic attack feels eerily similar to a heart attack. So, if you suffer from anxiety, heart disease, or are at risk for either, knowing when to call a doctor can, sometimes, be a matter of life and death, so you should most definitely take symptoms of stress seriously.
First things first: if you are ever in doubt about what you're feeling and have any suspicion that it could be a heart attack, call 112 immediately. Better safe than sorry! That being said, here are some general rules of thumb that can help you determine if what you're experiencing is caused from anxiety or a potential heart problem:
A racing heart that steadily increases is likely caused from anxiety.
A racing heart that is immediately preceded by a skipped (or extra) heartbeat can indicate a heart problem.
Heart palpitations that occur at a moment of high stress are likely a symptom of anxiety in reaction to a stress trigger.
Heart palpitations that occur suddenly, while you're feeling calm or relaxed, or without a known 'trigger' can be a symptom of heart disease.
Anxiety can cause a number of symptoms throughout the body, including fatigue, headaches, stomach upset, and sweating. It does not cause swelling.
Heart disease can also produce fatigue, headaches, stomach upset and sweating. Unlike anxiety though, heart disease can also lead to swelling of the feet, legs, and stomach, which can make it more difficult to breath if you're lying down.
If you're concerned that anxiety is not the cause of your racing heart, heart palpitations, or other symptoms, make an appointment with a cardiologist who can put your mind at ease with diagnostic tests that rule out any heart condition. At CardioCare private cardiology centre in Marbella, we offer a number of check-up packages to suit your medical background and lifestyle so you can rest assured that your heart is in perfect working order. Our doctors are internationally-trained with decades of experience in cardiovascular diseases, their diagnostics, and their treatment and only use the most advanced technology and minimally-invasive techniques in everything we do, so you get the best care, no matter what you come to us for.
Book an appointment at CardioCare's private cardiology centre in Marbella using our online form or by calling our friendly reception staff at +34 677 759 003.