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What is Anxiety Chest Tightness

Woman suffers from chest pain

There are several causes why you may feel tightness in your chest. In this article, we will look closely at anxiety chest tightness and see how anxiety can lead to this condition, the possible treatments, and when to seek help.

Anxiety Chest Pain Vs. Heart Attack Chest Pain

Anxiety Chest Pain Vs. Heart Attack Chest Pain

Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness and dread. Because people feel anxiety in different ways, it’s difficult to explain exactly what it is. Usually, it may cause a person to become restless, sweat, be tense, and experience a rapid heartbeat.

Anxiety can be a normal stress reaction. You might feel anxious if you are about to do something very important. You can also feel anxiety when dealing with a very difficult problem.

The feeling of anxiety can also lead to a tightness of the chest which can be very uncomfortable. This discomfort is often mistaken for a heart attack, and these two conditions have many similarities but are quite different.

A heart attack will cause a squeezing and intense pain in the chest, and its onset is caused when one is doing a physical exertion. The pain caused by a heart attack will also get progressively worse and will not lessen.

It should be noted that anxiety chest pain will lessen over time. The symptoms that accompany it are usually gone within half an hour. Another difference is that anxiety can induce stabbing rather than squeezing pain in the chest.

Another important distinction is that the pain caused by a heart attack will radiate towards the arms, shoulder, and jaw. A heart attack can also cause nausea and vomiting.

It’s essential to know the difference between the two types of pain because a heart attack is life-threatening and would require immediate medical attention.

Despite the fact that these two ailments are unrelated, some people believe that the symptoms might lead to a heart attack. The answer is no.

Chest pain caused by anxiety will not lead to a heart attack. Heart attacks are caused by blood vessels to the heart getting blocked, which has nothing to do with anxiety.

What Anxiety Chest Symptoms and Pain Feel Like

As mentioned earlier, anxiety chest pain is characterized by stabbing pain in the chest. It should be localized on the center of the chest. The sensation has been characterized as pressure being put to the chest by others.

What Causes Anxiety Chest Pain

Businessman suffering an anxiety attack with the hands in his chest and head sitting in a desktop at office

Not everyone who feels anxiety will feel chest pains. According to recent research by BMC, about 60% of all chest presentations over the course of three years ended in a non-cardiac diagnosis of “anxiety,” “panic,” or “chest pain of unknown cause.”

It’s possible that the chest pain you’re experiencing isn’t connected to your cardiovascular system. But some causes are related. For the most part, chest pains are caused by an entirely different thing. Hyperventilating, for example, can cause chest pain and disruption in the contraction of the esophagus.

Some causes are also related to the cardiovascular system. Coronary artery spasms, for example, can cause chest pain and raise the heart’s oxygen requirement.

Treatment

What are the available treatments for anxiety chest pains?
In addition to medicine, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown encouraging results in treating this condition. This therapy teaches patients to structure how they think so they can avoid triggers and avoid minor emergencies.

CBT teaches a person to focus on other things instead of always thinking about the things that cause anxiousness.

Experts also recommend some lifestyle changes that can help prevent anxiety attacks. Some of those lifestyle changes include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Staying away from foods that are high in refined sugar
  • Staying away from caffeine
  • Staying away from alcoholic drinks

Making these lifestyle changes will not guarantee that you will not experience anxiety chest pains, but they can be helpful.

When to Seek Help

woman complains of heart pain - visiting a doctor

Chest pain can be alarming, and it is rightfully so. It’s a sign of a severe condition that can lead to death, like a heart attack. The key is to determine when the chest pain is caused by anxiety and when it is a heart attack symptom.

Anyone who experiences chest pains should seek medical help right away. While anxiety chest tightness may not be life-threatening, it is best to seek medical help to be properly diagnosed just to be sure.

Heart Attack or Not?

When you feel tightness in your chest, it’s better not to spend time wondering whether it’s a heart attack or caused by anxiety and just seek medical help immediately. The time spent speculating can be crucial in determining whether a patient can be saved. If it turns out that a heart attack does not cause chest pain, then that should be welcome news.

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