Can anxiety cause chest pain and tightness by dr himanshi

The word “anxiety” is used to describe a feeling which people experience while facing fear, danger or some stressful conditions like losing a job, broken marriage or death of a loved one. Anxiety can express a person’s feeling of being tensed, uncomfortable or restless.

We all may have experienced some form of anxiety in our lives. When anxiety is restricted to an acute phase of stress or fear, it is considered as a person’s normal reaction. It is called abnormal when anxiety persists even after the triggering phase is over.

Research studies conducted all over the world conclude that 1 out of 14 people meet the diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders. It affects nearly 12% of population worldwide resulting in mild to severe impairment.


Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain?

Chest pain episodes are definitive criteria to diagnose patients with panic attacks. Panic attacks are also the most common type of anxiety disorder associated with chest pain, occurring in about 78% cases. Chest pain is more common among sudden-onset panic attacks as compared to those attacks which have a gradual onset Some Possible Reasons behind Chest Pain Due To Anxiety are:

Researchers have raised a possibility that sudden attacks of anxiety can result in development of coronary artery disease through its relationship with cardiac risk factors. Asymptomatic Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) in seen in nearly 10-20% patients having chest pain due to anxiety.

It has been observed in a large group of patients having chest pain due to anxiety that they are convinced that they have some major disease. Patients with anxiety disorders having chest pain are reportedly more distressed than patients who actually have a cardiac illness.

The complaint of chest pain compels patients to seek treatment for their anxiety. This is the reason why nearly 9% of patients having anxiety disorders seek cardiologist’s help for chest pain. Conversely, panic disorder can be noticed in patients having both cardiac and non-cardiac type of chest pain. Can Anxiety Cause Chest Tightness?

Chest tightness can be presented as shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, feeling out of breath, and feeling suffocated, gasping of air and becoming conscious of your breathing. Chest tightness is a common symptom of anxiety. Chest tightness caused by anxiety has the following features which can differentiate it from cardiac causes:

Chest pain during anxiety has been linked to reduced quality of life, dissatisfaction with life and poor physical, mental and social health status. It is also linked to frequent hospitalization, increased expenditure on seeking medical consultations and medications.

• Lifestyle modifications similar to the ones mentioned above can be used to additionally help control chest tightness due to anxiety. Quitting cigarette smoking and alcohol helps to avoid developing actual respiratory or cardiac illnesses later in life.

Although mental illnesses are considered a taboo worldwide, it is important to understand that anxiety disorders are related to disturbed mental health and appropriate medical help must be sought to ease anxiety and chest pain and tightness related to it.