Photo Credit stress image by Andrii IURLOV from Fotolia.com A panic attack is an intense fear that develops suddenly, with no apparent reason, and can induce physical reactions such as sweating and a racing heart, according to MayoClinic.com. Although the causes of anxiety and panic attacks remain unclear, there are certain factors that play a role in the development of them. Family History A family history of anxiety and panic attacks can increase a person’s risk of experiencing symptoms. Mayoclinic.com suggests that genetics may play a role in the development of these disorders. Stress Significant life stress can trigger anxiety and panic attacks. According to MayoClinic.com, some possible stresses include the death or serious illness of a significant person and major life changes such as adding a baby to the family. The increase of stress hormones during these situations creates a sense of emergency within a person’s body that can induce anxiety and trigger a panic attack. Abuse and Trauma According to MayoClinic.com, having a history of physical or sexual abuse can increase the likelihood of developing anxiety and panic attacks.
Read More: What Are the Causes of Anxiety & Panic Attacks? | LIVESTRONG.COM
The researchers determined that panic attacks are relatively common among postmenopausal women. They also appear to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in older women. This doesnt mean panic attacks can cause a heart attack (because it could be that women with pre-existing or genetic heart conditions are more predisposed to panic symptoms), but it does mean that if a woman has a history of full-blow panic attacks, they will be at greater risk for coronary heart disease and stroke. Such women should likely be more closely monitored by their physician for these health issues. Reference: Smoller JW et al. (2007). Panic attacks and risk of incident cardiovascular events among postmenopausal women in the Womens Health Initiative Observational Study. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 64:1153.
Read More: Can a Panic Attack Cause a Heart Attack? | World of Psychology