Can Anxiety Signify a Heart Problem? (3+ Actionable Tips)

This article will center on showing why sometimes anxiety can convince you that you have heart problems. It will explain what is the difference between the two, and what you should do if you suspect you have one of them. Finally, the article will show how you can cope with anxiety.

Anxiety got me convinced I have a heart problem 

Anxiety can often lead you to think that you are facing a heart problem. That is because there are many signs of anxiety that can feel similar to having a heart condition, and in some cases, it can even feel like a heart attack. 

Anxiety, especially when it is intense, or if you are experiencing a panic attack can lead you to experience its symptoms so sharply, that at that moment people can be convinced they have a heart problem. 

The most common signs of anxiety, especially panic attacks, that leads you to think that is: a sharp pain in your chest, tingling in your hands, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, sweating, and shaking.

When going through those, you may begin to get even more anxious thinking you might be experiencing a heart problem, that can even possibly be fatal. But when this happens, it is important to keep in mind that there is a difference between the two. So let’s learn what they are.

How can I know the difference between anxiety and a heart problem?  

Once you know the most common symptoms of a panic attack that can lead you to think you have a heart problem, it is also important for you to know the common symptoms of someone that is having a heart attack. 

When that is the case, the person will feel pain in the chest, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and sweating.

But if they have similar symptoms, how can you set them apart? Some traits will often help you understand if you are anxious, or if you are having a heart attack. The first thing to keep in mind is that the pain in your chest will be different between the two.

When someone is having a panic attack, their pain is often sharp, as if you are being stabbed, and it is usually located in the middle of your chest. As for the heart problem, especially heart attacks, it will feel like someone is squeezing or pressuring your heart. 

And even though it can also be central, it often goes on to the arm, shoulders, and even jaw. You can also learn to set them apart by taking into consideration what caused the pain in your chest. 

Both of them can come out of nowhere, but heart problems will often manifest themselves after you go through a situation that demands too much from your heart, such as climbing stairs, while anxiety can be related to your anxiety triggers, which with time you may learn to recognize.

You can also set them apart by observing the duration of the symptoms. In a panic attack, you will likely experience the symptoms for a few minutes, even though sometimes they can go on for longer, but after a while, they will be completely gone. But in a heart attack, the symptoms may even start mild, but with time they will get worse.

What gets some people with anxiety especially nervous is knowing if going through anxiety, or a panic attack can lead you to have a heart attack. And that is not possible. 

The panic attack in itself will never lead you to a heart attack, but you can have a heart blockage that you don’t know about, and that can lead you to a heart problem.

What is known, on the other hand, is that anxiety, and the stress that comes with it can make it easier for a person to develop heart problems, such as coronary artery disease. That can happen because people with anxiety will have something called low heart rate variability (HRV).

This means that the person’s heart rate doesn’t swing so well based on the activity the person is doing, and this can increase the risk of the person developing heart problems.

In both cases, be it if you are having a heart problem, or a panic attack, it is important that you learn to cope, and learn when it is time to look for help. So this is what we will discuss now.

How can I cope with anxiety when I am convinced I have a heart problem?

If you are anxious and are suspecting that you have a heart problem, know that you should look for a doctor if you experience sudden, and severe chest pain. If the pressure on your chest lasts more than 2 or 3 minutes straight, and if it is radiating to your shoulder blades, and jaws, it is also a sign to go to the emergency room.

But if that is not the case, you are likely to experience a panic attack, and there are ways for you to cope with it. 

First, you need to try to breathe, it is not something you can distract yourself from, but trying to take deep breaths, and keep in mind that you have dealt with panic attacks before, and this one will also pass, can give you a sense of relief.

Aside from that, coping with a panic attack shouldn’t involve dealing with it just as it happens, there are also ways to cope with it in your everyday life. For that, you should try to live a healthier lifestyle. Caring for what you eat and drink, and not having too much sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can help.

You should also try to exercise regularly since it can help reduce your stress levels and helps you deal with tension. Doing meditation, or breathing exercises regularly can also be extremely helpful, they will allow you to focus on the present, and move away from the anxiety the racing thought brings.

It may also be important that you look for professional support. Therapy can be a way to understand your feelings better, get a notion of what triggers your anxiety, and how you can react to it differently. In some cases, a psychiatrist can also be important since they will be able to prescribe you medication to help you cope.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Can anxiety make me convinced I have a heart problem? 

What is health anxiety? 

Health anxiety is a constant concern the person may have around their health. It is a fear that can come from the person experiencing mild symptoms, or even if they don’t have any symptoms at all.

It can make it harder for the person to let go of exploring what those symptoms may be, making it harder for them to live their life normally. It is usually treated through therapy, and sometimes even medication.

Does anxiety have a cure? 

No, there is no cure for anxiety. Because it can be related to a genetic factor, and that won’t change even after the person goes through treatment, it is impossible to affirm the person will never struggle with anxiety again in their lifetime.

But it is important to keep in mind that anxiety is something we will all experience at some point in our lives since it is what will prepare us for danger. The concern is when it starts to make it harder for us to live our lives. 

When you develop an anxiety disorder, it is important to keep in mind that, even though there is no cure, it is still treatable. So by following the treatment, and making adjustments in your life, you will likely feel better.

What causes anxiety? 

Anxiety can be caused by many factors. It can be a reaction as the person is experiencing some form of illness that takes a toll on their emotional well-being. It can also be related to a traumatic experience, or because you have been dealing with a huge load of stress for a while.

Anxiety can also happen to some people because they have personality traits that make them more susceptible to it, or even. After all,  they have a family history of anxiety disorder, which means that there is a genetic influence on anxiety.

The condition can also happen when people are struggling with other mental health issues, for example, depression. Or by the abuse of alcohol, or drugs.

What are the types of anxiety? 

There are many types of anxiety disorders, and they usually relate to what makes the person anxious, or what triggers their anxiety. There is a generalized anxiety disorder, which causes the person to feel anxious about their everyday activities.

There is agoraphobia, which is a type of anxiety that causes the person to avoid places they would feel trapped, or helpless. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which the person experiences intensely the symptoms of anxiety, for a brief period, also known as panic attacks.

Separation anxiety is a form of anxiety that is common in children. It is what causes them to fear they will be abandoned if their loved ones aren’t always close. 

There are also phobias, which is an intense fear directed at one particular thing, or situation, like the fear of heights. And when the person is exposed to it, the anxiety can be so intense it can lead to panic attacks.

There are also anxiety disorders that happen as a consequence of other matters. For example, there is an anxiety disorder that is caused by a medical condition, or even by the abuse of alcohol, or drugs. 

And finally, there is an unspecified anxiety disorder, in which the person experiences all the anxiety symptoms, but the criteria of it don’t associate with any of the other disorders.

Can anxiety kill me?

No, anxiety in itself is not able to kill you. But anxiety may become detrimental to your health in some ways. First, the stress overload that you will experience when you have an anxiety disorder can be something that will impact, over time, your heart, your blood pressure, and many other systems of your body.

Aside from that, anxiety can be something that will prevent you from caring for your health properly. Some people can become so afraid that they will discover an illness if they go to a doctor, that they will have trouble checking up on their health every once and a while. 

When that happens, people can be dealing with illnesses they know nothing about, which can be detrimental to their health.


This article showed how anxiety can often lead you to think that you have a heart problem. It showed how to set anxiety and heart problems apart, and how to cope with anxiety.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below


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