Young woman checking the sports watch measuring heart rate and performance after running.

Is Your Racing Heart Causing Anxiety or Is It the Other Way Around?

A racing heart, feeling powerless, sweating, and chest pain are all common symptoms of a panic attack. But can you feel the same symptoms while being as cool as a cucumber?

It’s very easy to misdiagnose a heart condition called supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT. The condition may look and feel just like a panic attack. However, it’s triggered by a physical problem in the heart, not a worried or overactive mind.

The trouble is that SVT is often misdiagnosed as anxiety because it happens so sporadically. To identify it, a person would have to wear a heart monitor for about a month to hopefully pick up an episode.

SVT’s symptoms essentially overlap with those of a panic attack, and it can clearly lead to worrying. You might be wondering what’s wrong with you when you’re feeling your heart race out of nowhere, even when you’re relaxed and mentally calm.

It happens when faulty electrical signals in the heart override the heart’s normal pacemaker to trigger fast beats. During an SVT flare-up, heartbeats can soar to 250 beats per minute. To put that in perspective, a normal heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute.

Other symptoms include sweating, choking sensation, and chest pain.

If you don’t suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, but your doctor has suggested these feelings are likely related to these conditions, you may want to have another discussion.

There are newer technologies that are less intrusive to monitor heartbeats. Wearing one for a month or so may help determine if your racing heart is causing your anxiety and not the other way around.

In the meantime, continue to practice heart-healthy behaviors and do your best to relieve stress.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.

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