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Ask the Anxiety Sisters

Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness

Over the past few months I have been having heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness which lasts only for a couple of minutes—maybe five at the most. I went to my doctor who told me it was probably anxiety attacks but sent me to a cardiologist for some tests. Everything came out normal, but I’m still having these episodes and they feel like something’s really wrong. I’m 30 years old and have never had anxiety problems before. How do I know this is just anxiety and why am I getting it now?

If we had a dime for every “heart attack” Abs has had over the last ten years, we’d be writing to you from our own island in the Caribbean. But here in Ohio, we’ve come to understand that cardiac symptoms are some of the most common for anxiety sufferers. The trickiest thing about anxiety is that the symptoms are physical and often mimic serious conditions. There’s a good scientific explanation for this, but you probably don’t want to talk about brain chemistry right now. So here’s what we know:

  1. You are 30, which is really young for a heart attack.
  2. You’ve gotten a clean bill of health from your cardiologist.
  3. Your symptoms are typical for panic or anxiety disorder.

As fellow sufferers, we understand your disbelief. Over time, however, it does get easier to accept. Especially with cardiac symptoms which, after months of not amounting to anything but emergency room bills, seem more and more likely to be attributable to anxiety.

Regarding the second part of your question, there are as many causes of anxiety as there are sufferers, and anxiety can come on at any time. While this may not sound reassuring, being part of a community like ours definitely is.

Welcome to the Sisterhood!


  • Jodi Ustorf
    December 5, 2017

    Check into POTS, it stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. I was misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression numerous times, and my problem is actually with my ANS system. Hope this helps!

    • Mags
      December 12, 2017

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Did you have any risk factors for POTS and how were you correctly diagnosed (finally). We always are appreciative about learning new information.
      Mags and Abs

  • Brittany
    February 17, 2018

    I had something similar happen to me three years ago.
    I was getting heart palps like crazy out of nowhere one day. Alcohol, coffee, and salty foods- they all made my heart rate skyrocket to uncomfortable levels. My doctors couldn’t figure it out, so they sent me to a cardiologist. He put me on a beta blocker that was “supposed” to help, but I hated it. It made me tired.
    Now, I have anxiety, but this was different. Especially after eating? Come on.
    Anyway, I ended up going to the ER one night for a heart rate that was over 180bps. The one doctor there started talking to me about magnesium, and how the typical American diet is lacking in it. I went home the next day and immediately ordered some magnesium supplements. Guess what? They helped. I haven’t had a bad episode since. Also- I know I’m going to sound crazy, but drink some pickle juice! It’s a great source of electrolytes. Or… If you don’t like pickle juice. you can always order electrolyte drops offline as well.
    I hope this helps, and I hope you start feeling better!

    • mags
      March 20, 2019

      Thanks for the great ideas. We have a blog about vitamins and anxiety. I love the pickle juice idea! I never knew that about it but it makes sense.

    • Meredith
      October 9, 2019

      Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been reading about Magnesium and anxiety and have wondered if I needed to take a magnesium supplement. I might look into this.
      Also your comment about pickle juice caught my eye…I work as a server and sometimes when we get super busy I get anxiety and often go into the walk in to cool off and compose myself. There’s always big bucket of pickles and sometimes the smell is so tempting that I want to drink the pickle juice. I haven’t given in yet but maybe next time.

    • Laura M
      November 21, 2021

      Pickle juice is great for many things Including heartburn, nausea and electrolytes. I always save the juice from our pickles. You can also buy pickle juice.

  • Shannon wurzer
    November 26, 2018

    I have dealt with anxiety disorder for years and depression off and in. Sometimes I can’t get out of bed. I get so dizzy, heart paplitions, shortness of breath. Nothing seems to help. Meds don’t help either. I hate this.

  • Elizabeth
    March 20, 2019

    I had anxiety and depression for over 40 yrs. It is so hard to deal with sometimes. I’m on meds they help. All I wanted to say is hang on and try to relax as much as possible.

  • Kathy Bell
    October 11, 2019

    Have suffered bouts of anxiety and depression for years. Going through it right now. Was weaned off Lexapro after 15 years, now trying Amitriptyline. Still get jittery, nervous, shaky. So embarrassing, feel like I can’t do anything social and that just affirms my feelings of inadequacy. Hate that it is robbing my joy, etc I am also a Christian and have been praying but then get more depressed when it doesn’t seem to help.

  • Sthembile Tarr
    February 21, 2021

    I can’t sleep it’s always happens at night my chest pain my heart is go fast my throat is tie and I’m also getting dizzy. I don’t know what to do doctors said I’m fine

  • Shelli H
    November 21, 2021

    Hubby dealt with similar symptoms along with nausea. Fisrt thought was Addison; endo euled that out. Second was stomach migraines; gastro ruled that out. Third Was POTS; tilt table test=ruled out pOTS but found Carotid Sinus Hypersensitivity=Pacemaker surgery stat!! Unfortunately he still has many of the symptoms but really doesn want to beleive it is anxiety 🤷‍♀️

  • Margaret Carte
    November 21, 2021

    Heart attack, panic attack, heart attack, panic attack which is it this time?

  • Sara
    November 22, 2021

    Enjoy your posts

  • Elizabeth
    March 5, 2023

    I’m in my 70’s and I am experiencing heart palps and anxiety more now than ever! I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and am on meds for these conditions but the symptoms seem to come more frequently now.


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