Difference Between Anxiety and Heart Attack (With Table)

If seen, the symptoms of both anxiety and heart attack are almost the same, but still, there is a lot of difference between these two and their cause. Chances of getting Anxiety or heart attack increases when someone is having tension or getting chills or hot flashes. There are different symptoms in the body also when we get Anxiety or heart Attack.

Anxiety vs Heart attack

The difference between anxiety and heart attack is that anxiety occurs when stress triggers the hormone “fight or flight” in the human body, which is caused by anxiety and panic whereas, in heart attack, the situation is almost the same.  When a person has a coronary artery, then this problem may occur at that time, such as “rapid heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath. 

“Anxiety” actually happens due to excessive stress, in uncomfortable situations or surroundings. When we think too much, we remain under stress and all this increases the blood pressure in our body. Anxiety disorder has become a common illness in humans at the current time. During an Anxiety attack, pain starts in the chest.

A heart attack mainly occurs because of blockage of the blood to the heart due to the blood clots which indirectly restrict the flow of oxygen to the tissues or muscles; however, other day-to-day life activities also causes the heart attack like when a person is not having a healthy life or too much tension or eating too much of junk which leads to obesity. Obesity is also one of the main reasons for heart attack.

Comparison Table Between Anxiety and Heart Attack

Parameters of ComparisonAnxietyHeart attack
DefinitionAnxiety attack hits hard when a person feels helpless or weak, it weakens our will and completely breaks mental strength. In one way or another way, Anxiety or panic attack is common in most adults.A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood through an artery is blocked and prevents oxygen.
SymptomsIn an Anxiety attack, an individual might feel a little suffocated, sweating, pounding of heart, or sharp and stabbing pain in the chest.Before a heart attack occurs, its symptoms are known, due to which the person becomes aware in advance.  Symptoms include chest pain or pressure, increased heartbeat, feeling light-headed, sweating, body aches, feeling restless, shortness of breath, vomiting, etc.
DurationAnxiety attack comes for a short time.A heart attack does not go away quickly i.e. it lasts for a long time.
Location of painIn anxiety, the pain is confined to the chest only.The pain in a heart attack tends to radiate from one place, that is, from the chest to the arms, jaw, and shoulder
Risk factorThe main factor of an anxiety attack is stress that spoils an individual’s mental health.The main factor of heart attack is smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a sudden attack of formidable fear and this attack is not life-frightening, however, they do affect our daily life quality and make us cranky over some time and sometimes short-tempered as well. Anxiety attack hits hard when a person feels helpless or weak, it weakens our will and completely breaks mental strength. In one way or another way, Anxiety or panic attack is common in most adults. In an Anxiety attack, an individual might feel a little suffocated, sudden sweating, pounding of heart, or sharp and stabbing pain in the chest.

In anxiety, we lose control of our mind which prevents us from doing things that we are afraid to do like crossing the road, or taking any decision at a moment or sometimes it just blacks out as well and fear of heights is because of all these. If its treatment is not done at the right time, it might spoil an individual’s mental health.

If seen, the disorder of both anxiety and emotion is usually the same.  This can happen to people of all ages at any time. Psychiatrists say that this problem is found more in women, if we talk about men, then it is found less than women.”

The types of anxiety disorders like panic disorder, phobia, social Anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, illness anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What is Heart Attack?

A heart attack is caused by the closure or failure of more than one “coronary arteries”, arteries get blocked due to blood clots that obstruct the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart which indirectly restricts the flow of oxygen as well to the tissues or muscles. The basic symptom of the heart is a bit similar to an Anxiety attack where we get pain in the chest however in a heart attack pain starts from the chest like squeezing and radiates to the arm, shoulder, and jaw especially to the left side of the body

There are multiple factors why an individual gets a heart attack like when a person eats more fried or roasted food, it builds up fat in his body and causes problems like high cholesterol, and from this, a substance called “plaque” is formed, due to which the arteries (atherosclerosis) can become smaller.

Coronary artery disease can be said to be the biggest cause of heart attack. When someone has a heart attack, a plaque rupture occurs, allowing cholesterol and other substances to mix into the bloodstream.  Due to the rupture, a blood clot is formed around that place.  If the clot is large, the coronary artery can block blood flow, leading to a lack of oxygen and nutrients to the heart (ischemia).

There may be a possibility of a complete or minor blockage of a coronary artery in your heart. Less blockage means you have had a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI). There may be different diagnoses and treatments. If any of these two have happened to you.

Main Differences Between Anxiety and Heart Attack

We often get confused between Anxiety and Heart Attacks because of their symptoms and cause.

The distinguishing factor between Anxiety and heart attack relations can be summed up on the following grounds

  1. Whenever an anxiety attack occurs, there is suddenly more pain in the chest and that pain is more localized, whereas when there is a heart attack, it does not cause so much pain but it increases rapidly.
  2. In anxiety, the pain is confined to the chest only while the pain in a heart attack tends to radiate from one place, that is, from the chest to the arms, jaw, and shoulder.
  3. A panic attack comes for a short time i.e. pain lasts for at least 1 hour whereas a heart attack does not go away quickly i.e. it lasts for a long time.
  4. Anxiety attack hits hard when a person feels helpless or weak, it weakens our will and completely breaks mental strength whereas heart attack occurs when the flow of blood through an artery is blocked and prevents oxygen.
  5. The main factor of an anxiety attack is stress whereas the main factor of heart attack is smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.

Conclusion

As we see in the above sections, even though the symptoms of both Anxiety and heart attack are the same, their results are completely different from each other. The common symptoms of Anxiety and heart attack are Chest pain which is also a reason why in most cases an individual rushes to the hospital on the assumption of having a heart attack. Chest pain in both situations is different, in an Anxiety attack we feel a sharp and stabbing in the middle of the chest however in a heart attack chest pain radiates to the arm, jaw, or shoulder. In Anxiety attacks we feel suffocated, shortness of breath, sudden sweat, or blackout in front of our eyes but heart attacks could be life-threatening. Heart Attack also depends on the individual’s food consumption like fast food or fried food or drinking too many beverages and day-to-day routine.

References

  1. https://heart.bmj.com/content/38/7/752.short
  2. https://psychotherapy.psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdf/10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.1973.27.3.360
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/000579679290045I
x
2D vs 3D