Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks - or a Serious Illness?

The physical symptoms of anxiety attacks are often a source of worry for anyone who suffers from panic or anxiety.

Chest pain, racing heart, dizziness and nausea are really uncomfortable and can make you wonder if you actually have a terrible disease that is causing these symptoms!

It's best to be sure and know where you are medically. If you are having any of these symptoms, go to a doctor!


Be aware that heart attack symptoms and panic attack symptoms can be very similar. Especially in women.

If you think you might be having a heart attack call 911 right away!

Consult A Doctor You Trust!

It is very important that you consult a doctor you trust to identify or rule out any major or minor health conditions you may have that could contribute to your anxiety and panic symptoms!

Get serious physical conditions such as heart disease and stroke ruled out by visiting a doctor you trust. Be aware that if you are overweight, are over 40 years old, have heart disease, smoke or lead a sedentary lifestyle that these factors place you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.

There are also other medical conditions that can cause physical symptoms of anxiety attacks. Some are serious, some not as serious.

Serious Conditions Can Cause Anxiety Symptoms

Some of the serious conditions that can cause panic like symptoms include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart Failure
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse
  • Asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer

I know this is scary but the best way to deal with it is to go to your doctor get thoroughly checked out and then proceed to treat any physical issues that are uncovered - and then move on to manage the psychological issues contributing to your anxiety.

Minor and Easily Treatable Conditions That Can Contribute to Feeling Anxious

You can also get help from your doctor in identifying minor and easily treatable health conditions which may cause some physical sensations that your brain may interpret as anxiety.

Examples of this are low blood sugar, dehydration, or deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals - such as iron, B Vitamins or Vitamin D.

Get Medical Help and Get Tested!

Be sure to go to a doctor and get thoroughly examined and tested for possible medical issues. If you are a woman, be aware that the signs and physical symptoms of anxiety attacks and heart attacks can be very similar.


Be sure to push your medical team to check for possible heart attack, especially if you have experienced extreme fatigue just prior to the onset of symptoms or have experienced flu like symptoms recently or have symptoms that come and go over a short period of time as these can be typical of a heart attack in women.

Read this list of important medical tests related to heart disease

Identify and Treat any Physical Components - Then Stop Worrying!

Don't stay stuck in "doctor shopping" - endlessly going to doctor after doctor worrying that you are the one rare person who is secretly suffering from an extremely rare incurable and or deadly disease!

When you continually worry about physical illness your worry actually intensifies or even creates panic attacks.

So really, the less you worry, the healthier you will become.

Know When You Need To Move On

Once you have gone through the process of being thoroughly tested for medical issues, and you have been cleared medically by a doctor you trust, there comes a point where you need to move on and look at the psychological and behavioral issues that are causing your physical symptoms of anxiety attacks.

Some people go searching from doctor to doctor for months or even years trying to find out the "real" diagnosis that is the true cause of their unexpected pain and discomfort.

Television shows featuring the stories of patients who had a hidden or rare condition that took years to diagnose can fuel the tendency for us to continue to worry that we are suffering from a major physical ailment.

One of the biggest obstacles to actually recovering from anxiety and panic attacks can be a lingering fear that symptoms such as a racing heart, chest pain, shaking, and dizziness are actually the indication of a major physical illness.

Most people who experience the physical symptoms of anxiety attacks are simply having an anxiety attack.

Many people who experience the physical symptoms of anxiety attacks may have minor physical or health issues that contribute to feelings of anxiety - that when treated will help in management of anxiety.

Everyone can find relief from the physical symptoms of anxiety attacks with appropriate treatment.

Read about things you can do to treat the psychological components of anxiety attacks in Treatment of Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Worried about Panic Attack vs Heart Attack?

Go to Panic Attack Facts

Find out more about Panic Attack Symptoms

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