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Anxiety Can Mask Heart Symptoms

Sunday, 24 Dec 2017 04:07 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Women with an anxiety disorder may have less blood going to their hearts when exercising. That’s the key finding of a new study that suggests doctors may sometimes miss signs of heart disease in these women.

In women who had never been diagnosed with heart disease, researchers found that those with anxiety were 75 percent more likely to have reduced blood flow to the heart during activity. This could signify the presence of heart disease, they say.

The study’s findings may indicate that anxiety symptoms such as chest discomfort or palpitations are masking heart disease in women, leading to a misdiagnosis.

The researchers looked at more than 2,300 patients, including 760 women, who underwent an exercise stress test and a psychiatric interview.

The exercise stress test looked for reduced blood flow (ischemia), which can cause a shortage of oxygen to the heart, and the effects of gender and mood/anxiety on this condition.

The researchers found that women with anxiety were far more likely to show ischemia than women without anxiety. They found no similar effects in men.

This study, which appeared in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcome, showed that doctors need to take the possibility of heart disease in these women more seriously and do more diagnostic testing to make sure their symptoms are actually due to anxiety and not due to coronary artery disease.

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Sunday, 24 Dec 2017 04:07 PM
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