And while the physical effects can look similar, there are subtle ways to tell the difference between panic attacks and heart attacks. Both panic attacks and heart attacks have chest pains, and both can cause what feels like a squeezing of the heart. But heart attacks cause chest pains that tend to radiate all along the shoulder.
Panic attacks are not life-threatening; however, they can impact the quality of a person’s life in a big way. Heart attacks are a medical emergency. A lack of blood to the heart can cause serious damage to the heart muscle and it can be life-threatening.
If, on the other hand, you experience chronic stress, suffered a recent traumatic event, or have trouble coping with life’s ups and downs, you may be dealing with anxiety. Symptoms of severe anxiety and panic often resemble a heart attack, which can worsen your distress. When anxiety feels like a heart attack, the panic can feel overwhelming.