Stress - Physical Symptoms

by Tammy


I have what my doctor calls a general anxiety disorder due to perimenopause. It is making me crazy. I can't sleep at night without taking a pill because my mind races but also because the physical symptoms are so scary.

It always feels like I am having a heart attack. I have tightness and pain in my chest, sometimes pain in my throat and numbness in my arm.

I have had 2 ekgs this year and a stress test and all was normal.

So my question is if the symptoms are the same as a heart attack how will you know if you are really having a heart attack. That is what I am agraid of most.

Thanks for any insight.

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Any cure?
by: Robert

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Physical Symptoms
by: Anonymous

Thanks Jill. It is really interesting as this seemed to appear out of nowhere. I have had a stressful job for over 25 years and never had issues coping with anything.

I do see my doctor regularly. She actually had me see a physco-therapist to help figure out the root.

She thinks that this may just be a side affect of perimenopause as I have had a variety of other symptons ie hot flashes etc..

Just knowing that it may not be a permenant condition helps.

I love your site. Great information.

Thanks again.

Great Question!
by: Jill R


I have been in your position and know exactly what you're going through. Panic attacks can feel exactly like a heart attack and are extremely scary!

I have three BIG suggestions for you:

1) Make sure you visit your doctor to find out your risk level for a heart attack. While heart attacks aren't completely predictable, if you find that your risk level is relatively low, this may help to ease your mind when the symptoms of a panic attack pop up.

2) Do your best to manage your fear. The crazy thing about panic attacks are that the more you fear them (although the fear is completely understandable) the more anxiety you'll build up and the more likely you are to face another one.

3) Now that you know that you have GAD and have experienced some horrible side effects, the biggest thing you can do for yourself is to find ways to effectively manage your stress & anxiety levels. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is not a permanent thing... you can absolutely find ways to manage it (even without medication if that's what you & your doctor decide) and significantly reduce the symptoms.

During my first panic attack, I almost called 911. I was convinced that I was having a heart attack. And the more I panicked the stronger the symptoms were and the longer it lasted. And after visiting my doctor I was also told I had GAD. However, ever since I found ways to REALLY finally manage my stress, my anxiety is mostly non-existent and I have not had a full blown panic attack in years! And I no longer have the fear associated with them.

So be sure you're doing everything you can to reduce your risk factors for an actual heart attack (reducing your stress is one of them) and then also focus on managing your anxiety and the symptoms will take care of themselves.

Now's the time to take your panic attacks as a sign that you need to take better care of yourself... mentally & physically. And of course, be sure your doctor is involved in your plans as they can be a great resource!

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

Good Luck!
Jill R.
Certified Stress Management Coach

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