Panic Attacks Endanger Heart Health

Panic attacks are not only disturbing psychologically, they may also restrict blood flow to the heart and result in chest pain in patients who have heart disease. Using a sophisticated nuclear imaging technique, researchers at the Montreal Heart Institute in Canada determined that 80% of panic disorder participants experienced myocardial ischemia, reduced blood flow to the heart, upon onset of the panic attack. Only about 40% of those patients without the disorder who had the attack experienced such an effect on the heart. Thus, panic attacks, in combination with coronary artery disease, could be a risky business down the road. The researchers note that panic disorder is treatable with a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

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