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Panic attacks linked to heart disease

Panic attacks linked to heart disease
Photo: Panic attacks linked to heart disease
People who suffer from panic attacks are more likely to develop heart disease, says an new study from the University of Adelaide.

People who suffer from panic disorder are 36 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack later in life.

They're also 47 per cent more likely to develop heart disease, according to a new University of Adelaide study published in the journal Psychological Medicine.

The researchers analysed 12 international studies involving more than 1 million people and about 58,000 coronary heart disease cases.

"The link between panic disorders and heart disease remains controversial, partly due to overlapping symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations and shortness of breath," study co-author Professor Gary Wittert said.

"Furthermore, we can't rule out the possibility that in some people, the symptoms of a panic disorder represent a misdiagnosed heart condition."
He said it had long been known there were very clear links between cardiovascular disease and emotional states, stress and other conditions.

Anxiety heightened a person's emotional state, he added.

"I think medical professionals should be aware that if people have anxiety disorders, that the presentation of chest pain should not necessarily be brushed off as part of the disorder," he said.

Cardiologist and co-author Professor John Beltrame said people who suffered from panic attacks and anxiety should monitor their heart health.

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