Have you ever wondered if you can be literally scared to death? Fear is a strong emotion and the adrenaline spikes and stress it causes can be harmful to your health. From anxiety to irregular heartbeats, here’s how fear can affect your heart.
Can Fear Cause a Heart Attack?
Fear can trigger the fight or flight response in your body. When you become scared, your adrenal glands respond by releasing the hormone adrenaline. Adrenaline is what helps to bring more blood to your muscles and makes your heart beat faster. Adrenaline also brings calcium to your heart to help keep your muscles contracted. This can cause an irregular heartbeat.
If you’re feeling scared, anxious, or stressed, the release of adrenaline, can put you more at risk of a deadly irregular heartbeat or a heart attack. While your 5-year-old jumping out of a tree can scare you, this likely won’t directly cause a heart attack. Prolonged stress on your heart caused by too much adrenaline and an irregular heartbeat can, however.
Signs of a Heart Attack
There are some common heart attack signs to watch for if you’re experiencing any symptoms. Tightness in your chest that spreads to your neck, back, or jaw, cold sweats, and shortness of breath are all common signals. You may also feel dizzy, lightheaded, and tired. Abdominal pain and nausea may also occur.
Managing Fear and Anxiety
To help prevent a heart attack and unnecessary stress on your heart, it’s imperative to manage your stress and fears. Getting regular exercise, sleep, and time outdoors, can all help to reduce your stress levels. Being well-rested can also help you feel more prepared to tackle your anxiety. Meditation and yoga practice may also help you cope with daily fear. If possible, seek professional help if you’re feeling overwhelmed by fear and anxiety.