Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Anxiety and Heart Attack

Anxiety vs Heart Attack

Anxiety and heart attack are two different things that human beings sometimes experience. Anxiety is a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced due to a variety of mental disorders, while heart attack is a sudden severe instance of abnormal heart function. Both are heart-related, for when someone feels anxious, the heart beats faster than usual. But anxiety is more related to the emotion rather than to the physical body. Anxiety is normally caused by fear associated with the expectation of a bad misfortune and this is one symptom of heart attack. Anger, depression, insecurity and stress are also some causes.

When one is anxious and is lightly experiencing chest pains, the person usually associates it to heart attack immediately because intense fear of dying is one effect of cognitive anxiety. Anxiety could also be a medical symptom or condition of heart failure or arrhythmia, where an abnormal electric activity in the heart causes it to beat too fast or too slow and sometimes regular or irregular.

A lot of people confuse anxiety attack with heart attack because both causes discomfort and pain. But heart attack pain can be a lot worse than that of an anxiety attack. Chest pain is experienced by the patient with feelings of pressure, squeezing and tightness which last for more than a minute. Upper body parts such as the arms, neck, jaw or stomach may also experience pain that comes and goes. Extreme indigestion also happens.

Some instances that make anxiety attack seem like heart attack are the occurrence of rapid breathing which causes shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea and lightheadedness. In times like these, only medical evaluations can distinguish which is which. But after attacks, the once anxious person would return to normal without any symptoms, while the one who experienced heart attack would still experience some symptoms. Severe fatigue happens suddenly and repeatedly when having an anxiety attack.

There have been a lot of debates on whether emotional problems which causes panic and anxiety attack really causes heart attack. The interaction between mood problems and health problems has been the subject of researchers for a long time. Some say that anxiety attack is just a form of heart exercise, compared to a heart attack which is associated with health problems. Anxiety would also make a person alert and responsive during attacks unlike during a heart attack. This implies that anxiety attack is completely harmless and it is anxiety disorder that must be given attention to, and it happens when excessive anxiety is already happening to a person.

One must remember that heart attack would most commonly happen to those who already have heart conditions or diseases, while anxiety attack would not normally cause heart attack. But since anxiety attacks appear just like that of heart attacks, they still must not be taken for granted. That’s why it is important to understand the differences between the two and to know the appropriate precautionary measures in dealing with both cases.

When anxiety attack is experienced by a person, he must be consulted and evaluated by a psychiatrist. Anxiety attacks can be cured by the method ‘cognitive restructuring’ which helps a person know the nature of the symptoms of their attacks and know how to reduce the instances of having another attack. Other methods used are the behavioral modification and relaxation techniques in addition to anti-anxiety medications which psychiatrists can prescribe to their patients. Meanwhile, heart attacks can be reduced through changes in lifestyle such as avoiding smoking, conducting a regular exercise, having a balanced diet and limiting alcohol intake.

It is advisable that if you don’t have any idea of what’s happening is an anxiety or a heart attack, immediately consult medical professionals. You must not feel embarrassed if the heart attack you thought was just anxiety. It is much better than leaving it for granted.


1. Anxiety and heart attacks both cause increase heart rates, irregular heartbeats, pain and discomfort.

2. Anxiety is not followed by extreme pain compared to heart attacks.

3. Both are heart-related.

4. Mood problems are often associated with anxiety and heart attacks, though researchers are not that sure of this issue yet.

5. Heart attacks happen to people who already have heart conditions or problems, while anxiety is usually caused by emotional problems.

6. Both anxiety and heart attack must be consulted immediately with medical professionals.

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1 Comment

  1. What about all of the medical websites that list all of the different types of heart attacks, some of which do not follow the “classic heart attack” symptoms? The heart attacks that happen to otherwise healthy people, with no history of heart disease? In my humble opinion, before writing an article like this, you should really do your research as what you posted here is very misleading.

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