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Panic attacks, heart attacks linked in study

I read the following in a yahoo article.. Is this true because I thought there was no physical threatthat followed panic attacks.
Anybody know any more information about this??

Mon Oct 1, 6:32 PM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - People who experience the anxiety, racing heartbeat and rapid breathing of a panic attack have a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke, researchers said on Monday.


"Our study adds panic attacks to the list of emotional states and psychiatric symptoms that have been linked to excess risk of cardiovascular disease and death," wrote study author Dr. Jordan Smoller of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Previous research found people with persistent feelings of depression, anger and hostility are at higher risk of heart attack, according to the study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The study identified a more than three-fold increased risk of a heart attack or stroke within five years in 330 women who had originally reported a panic attack in the prior six months. They were among 3,369 women aged 51 to 83 to participate in the study.

Smoller said several factors may be at work, including that the symptoms of panic attacks inflict damage on the heart and the cardiovascular system.

Feelings of panic could induce blood platelet production that increases the risk of a blood clot, which can trigger a heart attack or stroke. Panic attacks also may lead to a spasm of an artery feeding the heart, which can reduce or cut off blood flow, he added.
11 Responses
Avatar universal
What a load of bollocks.
212161 tn?1537898045
i can see that because your blood pressure goes up and yes it puts a load on your heart, when my son in a panic attack he feels pressure on his heart and it flips/flutters his face gets red and blood pressure goes up, so yes i belive they can lead to heart attacks if not under control.
263369 tn?1191353669
A couple comments... I think very often results of studies like these are blown way out of proportion and the headlines attached to them give a misleading impression of how 'significant' the results really are, or aren't.

Second, it makes perfect sense that anyone suffering from anxiety or panic would be under quite a bit more stress than normal... any medical condition, especially chronic oens, are cause for stress.  And why would anyone find it surprising that something that causes stress would be associated with other stress related conditions.

That said, I don't believe this study is any reason for us to be running to our doctors in a panic...

Am I missing something here?

Avatar universal

Panic and anxiety does not put you in any risk of these happening. If anything they are good for your heart as it keeps it working hard. Its like a work out. In britain they say you should get your heart up to over 150bpm for atleast half an hour a day, that is a government guideline. So whether that be from playing sports or having a panic attack its all the same... granted its far more fun playing sports, but playing sports is a million times more dangerous.

Avatar universal
You posted the word "Advertisement" over the next paragraph.  What were they advertising??  All I can read is telling us how panic attacks can lead to heart attack and strokes.  This is not an advertisement!   Somebody probably has got some pill they want to sell, so they are scaring people.

Well folks, I suffered from severe panic attacks for 15 yrs straight.  My BP shoots way over 200 during a panic attack.  I saw a Cardiologist and a Hypertension Specialist.  My heart checked out fine.

Now comes the interesting part:  The Hypertension Specialist told me that an occasional spike will not cause you to have a stroke or heart attack unless you already have a bad heart or blood vessels who are severely blocked or very weak and prone to an aneurysm.  He told me that "persistent" high BP every day, untreated high BP over decades can lead to stroke and heart attack even in people who have healthy hearts and arteries.  He also told me that I'd be surprised that most people if they had a 24/7 BP monitor every day throughout the day and night what they BP would register.  Nobody's BP stays the same number during the day unless you lie in bed or on the couch all day.  He told me just looking at a heavy piece of furniture you are getting ready to move/lift your BP will shoot up to prepare yourself for this.  They did a survey on weight lifters who lift weights often and found their BP during the weight lifting to shoot as high as 240/130 and he said none of them stroked out yet.

I can see now why doctors told me in the past to stay away from the Internet when it comes to health questions.

They probably will be a pill out shortly "to prevent heart attacks and strokes for people who suffere from panic attacks", and when lots of people who read this article run to their doctors to get a prescription for this pill means lots of kick backs for these doctors, and the pharmaceutical companies are laughing all the way to the bank.  I see no other reason why medical professionals have to scare people like that on the Internet.  People with panic attacks suffer enough, they don't need that on top of it.  Hell, anything can kill you.  Our neighbor sat on her porch and eat an apple and almost died because she choked on a piece of apple, the EMS said a few minutes later and she would have been gone.
Avatar universal
This seems to be popping up on all the anxiety forums I am associated with.

I suffering for over 25 years, smoked a pack a day for longer than that and I'm still here. Of all the sufferers I know, I have never seen anyone have a related heart attack. There is a strange reason this is being posted.

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