Friday, December 2, 2022

Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Afib

Afib Or Anxiety: Understanding The Difference

Can stress cause Afib?

Chest pressure and an irregular heartbeat both tell you that something is wrong. However, these symptoms can be caused by very different things. Atrial Fibrillation commonly causes these symptoms. AFib is a serious, chronic condition that requires medical treatment. But severe anxiety or panic attacks could also be causing these symptoms. Below, we will tell you how to determine if AFib or Anxiety is causing you, heart, to race.

Anxiety Palpitations Or A

According to the American Heart Association , A-fib, short for atrial fibrillation, is an irregular heartbeat that can increase the risk of a stroke.

A-fib can produce symptoms that are similar to anxiety palpitations as the heartbeat becomes rapid and causes chest pain.

The table shows the main differences between symptoms.

Anxiety palpitations

Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Irregular Heartbeat

Lets dive into what it means to have an irregular heartbeat. A lot of people experience irregular heartbeats;and often say that it feels like their heart skips a beat. Here we go over what you need to know about irregular heartbeats.

Can stress and anxiety cause irregular heartbeat? How do you calm a racing heart? How do I know if my heart is ok? We answer all of your questions here.

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Stress Is Inextricably Linked To Heart Health

Managing stress effectively is important for everyones heart health, but especially so for people living with AFib. This is because when youre under a lot of pressure or worn out, it could trigger an AFib episode or make your symptoms worse. We all have to deal with stress in our lives but finding consistent ways to reduce stress when possible can have a big impact on your heart health.;

Link Between Atrial Fibrillation & Depression Anxiety

Stress and AFib  Can Stress Cause Arrhythmia and Other ...

Atrial fibrillation is a heart disease which is characterized by irregular heart rhythm. Abnormal heartbeat can affect the blood flow and can lead to stroke, heart failure, and other heart complications. Atrial fibrillation is a very common health problem, increasing worldwide. Most of the people who suffer from Atrial fibrillation, present the symptom of mood disorder. Studies show that every third person who suffers from heart disease also has anxiety and depression as a symptom.

The level of anxiety and depression are affected by the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

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Distinguishing A Panic Attack From A Heart Attack

Panic attacks and heart attacks can share similar if not identical symptoms. Anyone suffering from sudden and severe chest painwhether being treated for anxiety disorder or not should go to the emergency room. The physician will test the patients blood for specific heart muscle enzymes. If none are found, its usually not a heart attack.

A cardiologist sensitive to the issues of anxiety and depression will know how to sort out panic attack symptoms from heart attack symptoms, and will be able to refer the patient for treatment for panic disorder or any other type of anxiety.

Stay on Top of Your Heart Health

If you have a new or existing heart problem, it’s vital to see a doctor. Our heart health checklist can help you determine when to seek care.

Stress As A Potential Cause For Afib

If you think about it, any strong emotion can cause AFib including stress and anxiety. This should not come as a surprise if we discuss stress and anxiety as the common causes of several worrying health issues and risks. According to a study in Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine:

Stress, anger, and depression are the three most common negative psychological causes for AFib.

Whenever we are feeling stressed and anxious, there is a whole chain of events that sets off in our bodies. It all starts with the release of a well-known hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up, but also your blood pressure to rise. Your muscles are tense and contracted.;

These are the events that are a part of the fight or flight response in a stressful situation.

AFib occurs due to a sudden and unexpected surge of adrenaline, muscle tension, and hyperventilation, caused by stress and anxiety.

A study published in the Indian Pacing and Electrophysiology Journal investigated the link between stress and AFib. The researchers that were working on this study explained how chronic stress and AFib are linked with one another. Not only is stress a cause for AFib and arrhythmia in general, but also AFib is a cause for stress.

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How Soon Can I Drive

If your AF is well managed and you are symptom-free, you will generally be able to continue driving without restrictions. However, if you have had blackouts or severe dizziness with your;AF;you should not drive until your condition is stabilised.

If you have a vocational driver’s license it;will need to be assessed. If you have had a blackout or severe dizziness with;your AF you may have a 6 month stand-down.

Discuss any concerns with your doctor.

If you ever have an AF episode while driving, you should immediately pull over and seek help.

The Effect Of Anxiety On The Heart

How Does Stress Affect Your Atrial Fibrillation?

When someone is anxious, their body reacts in ways that can put an extra strain on their heart. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be especially damaging among individuals with existing cardiac disease.

Anxiety may have an association with the following heart disorders and cardiac risk factors:

  • Rapid heart rate In serious cases, can interfere with normal heart function and increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Increased blood pressure If chronic, can lead to coronary disease, weakening of the heart muscle, and heart failure.
  • May result in higher incidence of death after an acute heart attack.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor

When you talk with your doctor, ask these questions if you think you may have anxiety or AFib.

If you suspect anxiety:

  • Could my anxiety be related to my physical health?
  • Should I see a mental health specialist?
  • Do I need counseling or medication?
  • What can I do at home to feel less anxious?
  • Are there foods or drinks I should avoid?

If you suspect AFib:

  • Which type of AFib might I have: paroxysmal, persistent, or permanent?
  • Whatâs the cause?

How Reducing Stress Can Improve Your Afib Symptoms

We all know that stress has a negative impact on our overall health so why is it rarely talked about in a medical setting? If you go to see a medical professional about a health condition, they are very likely going to present options that are symptom-based, like medications and surgical procedures. While these options are a valuable piece to the overall treatment plan of managing atrial fibrillation, there are other holistic options to improve your symptoms in a less invasive way.

In a study done in 2015, it was found that AFib patients who were instructed to participate in a daily practice of yoga reported fewer atrial fibrillation symptoms. In addition to having less frequent AFib episodes, they also experienced significant decreases in their resting heart rate and blood pressure levels. Similar findings were found in a 2013 study, where at the end of the study, the yoga participants showed a significant reduction in symptomatic AFIb episodes, lower anxiety scores, and improved blood pressure.

It is not the stress itself that can trigger AFib, but the way that your body responds to stress that becomes the issue. Learning helpful tricks to regulate your body and your emotions during stressful times can help to reduce the severity of your AFib symptoms.

  • Trying low impact exercises like yoga, walking, or tai chi

  • Prioritizing your sleep schedule

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Afib And Managing Anxiety

There are all kinds of methods and resources available to help people reduce stress and anxiety levels. Some of the ones you’re probably familiar with are healthy exercise, taking nutritional supplements and using a licensed therapist.

Those are great, but people who also have Afib should focus on methods that control and steady their heartbeat. Breathing exercises are particularly helpful, as well as simple things like listening to soothing music and always doing your best to remove yourself from stressful situations. If you’d like a guide, there are lots of excellent mindfulness apps you can try that are completely free.

If you suffer from chronic anxiety symptoms, you should definitely speak to your doctor if you haven’t already.

What Is Atrial Fibrillation

How Can Stress Cause Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat or a rapid heartbeat or a quivering of the upper chambers of the heart. It is due to a malfunction in the heartâs electrical system and is the most common heart irregularity or cardiac arrhythmia. The risk of atrial fibrillation increases significantly after the age of 50 years. It is more common in men than women. Many a time, it occurs without any obvious warning signs. But, if they do occur, the symptoms include:

1. An uneven pulse

2. A racing or pounding heart

3. A feeling that the heart is fluttering

4. Chest pain

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So You Think You Are Experiencing Afib Now What

Next steps depend on how symptomatic you are. Some peoplefeel bad enough that they need to seek urgent medical attention. In general,try to stay calm, see if you can check your heart rate and blood pressure, andcall your doctor.

To diagnose AFib, your doctor may run some tests or might refer you to a heart rhythm specialist. The path to diagnosis might involve the following: a medical history and physical exam, an ECG and heart monitors, echocardiograms and stress testing. If you are diagnosed with AFib, there are many options for treatment including blood thinners, medications and minimally invasive catheter ablation procedures.

Related: Are;you;at;risk;for;heart;disease?

While the symptoms of anxiety and irregular heartbeat can be confusingly similar, dont let that keep you from voicing your concerns. Untreated AFib can lead to more serious health conditions such as shortness of breath, fatigue, heart failure or stroke.

Whether your symptoms are due to AFib or anxiety, you dont have to face it alone. Find a doctor who can help.

Anxiety And Heart Disease

The association between anxiety and heart disease has not been as fully studied as the relationship between depression and heart disease.

However, Una D McCann, M.D., director of the Anxiety Disorders Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, believes the connection is strong.

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How Treating Atrial Fibrillation Can Help Treat Anxiety And Depression

Ablation is a treatment procedure in which the heart tissue responsible for producing irregular heart waves are removed or destroyed.

A study showed approximately one-third of atrial fibrillation patients had elevated levels of depression and anxiety, with the depression symptom being the strongest.

Various studies and researches conducted show that this procedure reports a lower level of depression and anxiety in the patient when compared with those taking drugs to regulate heartbeat. The patient who has been treated by ablation also has reported no longer having suicidal thoughts.

A study was conducted and it was observed that the individuals bearing type D personality have a 3.69 fold increased risk of depression and 2.72-fold increased risk for anxiety. If this personality trait is identified, it could be more helpful for healthcare providers to focus their attention on it.

The physician also needs to broaden their approach in managing many chronic illnesses for the well being of the patient.

Keeping Your Relationships Strong

How Can Stress Cause Atrial Fibrillation?

It’s likely your AF diagnosis will affect those close to you. It’s normal for family members and other loved ones to feel scared or anxious about your diagnosis.

Often AF has no obvious, visible signs making it hard for those around you to understand what you are going through. This can lead to frustration and resentment. That’s why good communication with your family/whnau is really important.

Having open and honest conversations can lower your stress and encourage the closeness and emotional support that you need. No one, including children, should be excluded from these conversations. Children can often blame themselves when their parents become unwell, so it is important to explain to them what has happened and why it has happened.

Tips for good communication

  • Pick a time when there are no distractions to talk with your family about your condition
  • Express your feelings in a positive way – use “I” statements rather than “you” statements
  • Ask for help
  • Make a note of questions.

You can find some suggested questions to discuss with your doctor or nurse on our diagnosis and treatments page.

Will my family develop atrial fibrillation?

Sometimes AF can run in families. This type of AF is called familial atrial fibrillation. Recent research suggests as many as 30% of all AF cases may be familial.

Although genetics aren’t always the cause of AF, the research shows your family is at greater risk of getting AF if you’ve been diagnosed with it.

Sex and intimacy

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The Difference Between Panic Attacks And Afib

Atrial fibrillation and anxiety attacks share some principal symptoms, including episodes of irregular heart rhythm, and worrying about the cause can only make it worse. However, the two syndromes are actually quite different in nature. While AFib is a physical disorder involving abnormal electrical, anxiety is an emotional disorder that can be trigged by a number of reactions, situations or stimulants.

Although different people can experience symptoms differently, there are a few indicators that your chest discomfort is likely a panic attack:

  • Gradual heart rate decline. AFib episodes typically come on suddenly and leave without notice, but heart rate tends to gradually return to normal as a panic attack ends.
  • Fast, but regular heartbeat. A panic attack provokes a constant rapid heart rate. In contrast, AFib typically causes an erratic heart rate, where the beats speed up for a few seconds, then slow, then speed up again.
  • Emotional component. During panic attacks, it can feel like the world is about to end fear, helplessness and a sense of impending doom are commonly reported. AFib, on the other hand, is a strictly physical occurrence that generally doesnt bring emotional upset.

Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders fall into several categories. Here are a few of them:

  • Panic disorder can be associated with cardiac disease or mistaken for heart attack. Feelings of extreme agitation and terror are often accompanied by dizziness, chest pains, stomach discomfort, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder a condition that can follow a shocking or frightening incident or sudden, life-threatening event such as a violent crime, major accident, or heart attack. A person suffering from PTSD often has trouble dealing with anything associated with the incident that caused their condition, and experiences feelings of jitteriness and detachment.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive disorder People with OCD will manage unreasonable thoughts and worries by performing the same actions over and over. For example, an individual obsessed with perceived cardiovascular symptoms that have been checked and cleared by a physician may compulsively research them or find new ones for hours on end.

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How You Can Reduce Your Stress To Protect Your Heart

While eliminating stress from our lives entirely is not feasible, there are several simple steps to help you reduce and manage your stress level on your journey to better your heart health. Thankfully, several of these strategies are similar to overall solutions for living healthier with AFib, including:

  • Consuming a healthy diet Consuming the same types of heart-friendly foods recommended for AFib patients can also help you control your stress. Diet and mental health are closely connected, so make sure you are eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, and limiting your intake of animal fats, processed foods and sugar.
  • Getting regular exercise Exercise releases endorphins, which have been shown to lower stress levels and elevate your mood. Since exercise also helps your heart work more efficiently, maintaining a proper activity regimen is a win-win.
  • Using relaxation techniques Whether you like to meditate, practice yoga, pray, or simply relax quietly with a book, freeing your mind form your troubles can be an effective way to take your attention off the stressors of life for a while.
  • Receiving support from family and friends Emotional support from your loved ones generally leads to less stress, so make sure you are reaching out to your friends and family to let them know you need their help to stay as healthy as possible.

Physical And Emotional Causes Of Afib

Natural Treatments for Atrial Fibrillation  Dr. AFib

There is a wide variety of so-called risk factors that are considered to contribute to the development of AFib. We say a variety because many different factors can be blamed for the arrhythmias instead of one single cause.

The list of potential causes that can cause heart damage and lead to arrhythmia includes physical, but also emotional factors.

High blood pressure, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, an overactive thyroid, and alcoholism are only some examples of common physical causes for AFib.

AFib does not necessarily have to be a bad thing if we take some of the emotional factors into consideration. Many of us have experienced AFib at least once in their lifetime without even being aware of it.

AFib being a one-time occurrence is not a problem.

There is a problem when you experience AFib on a day-to-day basis or more or less common than that.;

When we say that most of us have had an AFib, we are thinking of extreme happiness as the cause. Yes, sometimes, extreme happiness can cause your heart to skip a bit. However, that does not make it a medical emergency. Feeling frightened can also cause your heart to skip a bit. And even cause you to feel as if your heart is about to jump out of your chest.;

Read Also: How Do You Reduce Anxiety And Stress

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