Am I Experiencing AFIB or Anxiety?

May 15, 2023

Both AFib and anxiety can cause an irregular heartbeat and chest pains. With such similar symptoms, it can be hard to tell AFIB attacks and anxiety attacks apart. However, knowing the difference is key for your health. Read on to learn whether you are dealing with AFib or anxiety.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, is another term for an irregular heartbeat. People with AFib may not have symptoms at all. However, people who do have symptoms deal with shortness of breath, a racing heartbeat, sweating, and/or chest pain. These AFib “attacks” often feel similar to a panic attack.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

We all deal with anxiety from time to time. However, some people have severe anxiety that gets in the way of their lives. These people often deal with panic attacks- periods of intense anxiety that cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and other physical symptoms.

The Connection Between the Conditions

It can be hard to tell if you have AFib or anxiety if you are experiencing some of these shared symptoms. Some patients also suffer from both conditions. For instance, people with AFib might experience anxiety related to their overall health, leading to panic attacks. This can make it even harder to get the right diagnosis.

Physical Vs. Mental Health Symptoms

So how can you tell if it’s AFib or anxiety? Firstly, it is important to pay attention to your mindset leading up to the attack. While AFib attacks are usually triggered by sudden physical movement, panic attacks are caused by a stressful or scary event. AFib attacks also tend to start suddenly, whereas panic attacks can be caused by days of built-up anxiety.

Getting The Right Diagnosis

It is important to see a cardiologist if you think you might have a heart problem like AFib. Only a doctor can diagnose heart issues and rule out other diseases. Northwest Heart Centre treats a wide variety of heart conditions. Our team can check for AFib and help you find a solution for your symptoms. Call us today to get started (281) 351-6250.