Experiencing pain in your chest is something that is scary and should not be ignored. Chest pain can be a result of many health problems, and some are very serious problems that must be addressed quickly. There are other things that cause chest pain that are not as serious, and one of these is anxiety. Anxiety can affect your body in many ways and leave you with many symptoms. Here are four things to know about anxiety and how it can cause chest pain.
How Anxiety Affects Your Body
Anxiety is a feeling that can overwhelm you, and it can cause changes to the way your body works. One change is an increase in heart rate. When you begin feeling anxious, your brain triggers your heart to work harder. This is what causes an increase in your heart rate, and it can also lead to an increase in your blood pressure. Both of these changes are hard on your heart.
In addition, your brain will release a variety of chemicals to cope with the stress you are feeling. Your immune system will also be affected by this, and the most common effect is weakening. If your immune system weakens, you may be more prone to developing illnesses and other health problems.
Chest pain is another effect of anxiety, and this primarily occurs from the way your body tries to fight off stress. When anxiety is the cause of chest pain, you may feel the following symptoms:
- Sharp pains in your chest
- Muscle spasms or twitches
- Radiating pain in the chest
Some people will feel these pains only in their chests, but other people can feel this type of pain in other body parts. One reason this happens is from the tightening of muscles, which is one way the body responds to stress and anxiety.
You Might Have Da Costa's Syndrome
There is a syndrome that causes chest pain from anxiety, and it is called Da Costa's Syndrome. The symptoms mimic heart-related problems, yet there is absolutely nothing wrong with the heart. This syndrome is very common with soldiers that have gone through emotional trauma during war, but it can happen to anyone. The symptoms of this condition are chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, hyperventilation, palpitations, and dizziness. If you experience all of these things during periods where you are anxious, your doctor might diagnose you with Da Costa's syndrome.
How This Problem Is Treated
The symptoms and effects of anxiety can be devastating to your health, and they will not go away on their own. Doctors can treat this problem, though, and there are several good options to try:
- Medications—Antidepressants are commonly used to treat anxiety and stress-related issues.
- Counseling—Talking to someone about how you feel can also have good effects.
- Exercising—When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, and these are chemicals that make you naturally feel good.
Even if you suspect that your chest pain is being caused by the anxiety you suffer from, you should seek professional help from a doctor. Doctors can run a variety of tests on your heart to see if there are any visible problems. If so, your doctor will treat them accordingly. If the doctor cannot locate any problems, he or she may look further into other causes, including anxiety.
While anxiety can cause chest pain, heart attacks and heart disease can too. These are both extremely serious conditions that will require medical treatment, and you will never know if you have either of these without going to a doctor.
If you are currently having chest pain and are not sure why, visit resources like Alpert Zales & Castro Pediatric Cardiology. This is the best way to find out what is causing the problem and how it can be treated.