Panic disorder linked to increased risk of heart attack, heart disease

Posted on June 24, 2015

Individuals with panic disorder experience sudden feelings of intense fear and loss of control that can last for several minutes, known as panic attacks. During these attacks, people may also experience physical symptoms, including sweating, breathing problems, dizziness, racing heart, hot or cold chills, chest pain and stomach pain.

Past studies have suggested an association between panic attacks and cardiovascular events. A 2007 study by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, for example, found older women who have at least one panic attack may be at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

But according to the researchers of this latest study - including Prof. Gary Wittert of the University of Adelaide's School of Medicine in Australia - the link between panic disorder and heart disease "remains controversial."
People who have panic attacks should closely monitor their heart health

In an attempt to gain a better understanding of this association, Prof. Wittert and colleagues conducted an analysis of 12 studies involving more than 1 million men and women, of whom 58,111 had coronary heart disease.

Compared with individuals without panic disorder, those who did have the condition were found to be up to 36% higher risk of heart attack and up to 47% higher risk of heart disease. The researchers say their study has identified a clear link between panic disorder and heart disease. However, they note that the exact mechanism underlying this association remains unclear. While the researchers note further studies are warranted to better understand how panic attacks affect an individual's heart, they say this current study indicates people who experience panic attacks and anxiety should keep a close eye on their heart health.

Category(s):Panic issues

Source material from Medical News Today

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