It is rather simple to mistakenly take an anxiety attack for a real heart attack. If fact, most casual observers would not
even know the difference between the two if they see it happening right before their eyes. The clear signs of an anxiety
attack reflect the commonly known signs of a heart attack, with the differences being only apparent if one knows what to look
for. Unfortunately, this close similarity also makes it difficult for people to know what to do in the event that a person
experiences one or the other. For the most part, the only real response that people have when someone is undergoing a heart
attack, anxiety attack, or even a stroke, is to simply call an ambulance and try not to panic while waiting for it. However,
in reality, there are some basic first aid measures that a person can take in the meantime.
The first thing is to restore balance to the person’s breathing. An anxiety attack often disrupts the circulatory and
respiratory systems, causing a number of effects on their normal functioning. An attack can result in someone having a
decreased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and an increase in the body’s circulation. Any muscle pain that a person is
feeling would also be decreased during an attack. While these signs cannot do any long-term or significant damage on their
own, but they can upset the body’s natural chemistry and trigger other changes that may cause damage. Restoring the usual
balance of breathing and blood circulation can help prevent the damage that might be done in the event of an anxiety attack.
In many ways, this can also help in the event of a heart attack.
More of a precautionary measure than first aid, keeping an eye on a person’s posture can also help people have better odds in
the face of an anxiety attack. Bad posture has a tendency to compress vital organs in the stomach and abdomen, which makes
them more vulnerable to possible damage during an attack. Bad posture can also lead to cramped space for the lungs and heart,
which in turn can make breathing difficult under normal circumstances. The problem can only be worsened when a person is
having an attack, where the lungs and heart are not working properly and other signs of discomfort such as shortness of
breath and low blood pressure are not entirely uncommon.
Diversion tactics have also been known to help someone if they are experiencing an attack, though this is usually best done
by the person himself. There are various diversionary tactics that can be employed, with most doctors agreeing that the best
effects come about if the tactics are done simultaneously. In general, anything that occupies the mind during an attack is a
good idea, so long as it does not add further stress. Most experts suggest counting to 100 at high speed, though some have
noted that most people also appear to respond to doing simple mathematical equations in their head positively. Cold water has
also been known to help, because it triggers a reflex in the brain that keeps it from focusing on the attack itself. Since
human brains are not wired to multi-task, keeping it moving can often take up enough of the body’s ability to coordinate
things to distract one from an attack, though talking on the phone about anything except the anxiety can help.