Question: I have been diagnosed with a panic disorder. Whenever I start feeling anxious I get this tight feeling in my throat and I sometimes feel like I’m choking. Is that normal? I am 21 years old.
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
Panic disorder is a physical response to an emotional trigger. The tight feeling you describe in your throat is typical of panic, but I would still suggest you see your doctor for evaluation to be sure you do not have a more serious condition.
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Cardiac pain may cause chest or neck pressure, but coronary artery disease at your age is usually seen in those with risk factors that are identifiable, such as a family history of premature heart disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and use of the birth control pill. The question is whether this physical response is triggered by exercise or not.
If not, this is more than likely a normal physical response to panic. Be sure to be examined by your doctor to be sure this reaction has no relationship to a larygospasm — spasm of your muscles in the voice box area — angioedema or a reaction to medication or allergy.
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