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Heart Attack or Panic Attack?

If you think you are having a panic attack, pay very close attention to your symptoms: You may actually be experiencing a heart attack.

“In some situations, it can be difficult to distinguish between a panic attack and a heart attack,” says Duc T. Nguyen, DO, interventional cardiologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Heart attack symptoms can include some or all of the following: anxiety, shortness of breath, nausea, jaw pain, chest pain, feeling of fullness, back pain and fatigue. Although panic attack symptoms can vary, common signs include racing heartbeat, dizziness and chest pain.”

Duc T. Nguyen, DO
Duc T. Nguyen, DO

The only way to be sure is to seek medical attention. If you think you are having a heart attack, you should call 911 immediately. “Once it is ruled out that a patient is not having a heart attack, other causes for the symptoms can be evaluated. Stress testing and other diagnostic tools are options that we have to evaluate whether a patient’s symptoms are being caused by their heart,” says Nguyen. “Once cardiac issues are ruled out, other causes for a patient’s symptoms will be explored and treated.”

For more information, call 573-331-3000.

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