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Heart Problems Versus Anxiety

Updated on March 18, 2011

Since pre-biblical times, the effect of anxiety on circulation has been known and recorded. Some circulatory symptoms are more likely than others to worry a depressed, oversensitive patient. The following questions relate to circulatory problems that may result in symptoms which mistakenly, to the lay mind could only be indicative of heart disease or stroke. 

  1. Have you been concerned about inexplicable chest pains?
  2. Are you troubled by pains down your arms?
  3. Do you have tingling in your arms?
  4. Do you suffer headaches?
  5. Do you have palpitations? Are you conscious of your heart beating?
  6. Does your heart sometimes beat more quickly, and are you aware that its rate is increasing?
  7. Do you ever seem to drop a beat from your heart?

If you answered 'yes' to some of these questions, don't be alarmed. Contrary to popular belief, most chest pain has nothing to do with the heart. The pain that comes from heart disease isn't a stabbing or shooting pain but a heavy, crushing, tight sensation. Some say it's as if someone is tightening a band - like a metal band around a barrel - around the chest. Others say that the chest pain stemming from a coronary thrombosis is similar to having a sack of concrete dumped on the chest. Anginal pain that is brought on by the temporary inadequacy of the oxygen supply to the heart muscles is of a cramp ­like, constricting nature.

Unlike the anginal pain associated with a coronary thrombosis, exercise-induced angina soon passes once the patient has had a few moments' rest. Exercise-induced angina may also be triggered by emotion, whether of joy or anger. When heart pain that is normally induced by exercise or emotion in patients begins to be more easily induced, or if it starts to come on at rest, they should visit a doctor immediately. This may be a warning sign that serious trouble is in the offing.

The pain of a heart attack lasts longer than that of simple angina. The heart attack may have been precipitated by exercise or emotion; it usually comes on at rest, but it is not otherwise related. The heart-attack pain doesn't go as soon as the patient has rested, and it is associated with other symptoms. The person not only looks ill, but is shocked - sweaty, with a grey complexion - and feeling seriously ill. Even the pain from a heart attack doesn't, however, last for days or weeks like the pain of the over-conscientious, depressed, tense or worried person. Thus, when a patient says that pain has been present for a considerable length of time, it may have an important physical cause, but the good news is that it is unlikely to have originated in the heart muscles.

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