I learned something new after like my third trip to the hospital this year (2019), I suffer from panic attacks. I think what frustrated me the most was I visited at least 3 different doctors trying to figure out what was going on with me. My heart rate and pulse would climb. I would get tingling in my fingers. I would feel disoriented. A warm feeling would race up and down my body. I would feel nauseous. There was no trigger for these episodes I was having because they would happen at different times of the day and not on every day. This was driving nuts on what was going on. When I went into the hospital early in the year, I had several blood tests, a CT scan, a sonogram, a brain scan with a weird mesh head cap. When I finally left, they told me that my potassium level was low and I was ‘stressing out’. I had a colonoscopy done were they did find 4 polyps. I met with an endocrinologist, but everything came back fine. When I had my most recent attack and [I hope] my final trip to the hospital. The emergency room doctor and my wife told me straight out…you have panic attacks. I did feel rather stupid especially after I went home and looked up panic attacks on Web MD:
What Are Panic Attacks?
It’s dramatic. Your heart begins to pound and you hyperventilate, sweat, and tremble. You fear you’re having a heart attack or something equally serious. Then, 10 minutes or so later, it’s gone.
What just happened?
You had a panic attack.
They’re fairly common, usually beginning between ages 15 and 25. If they keep coming back, you have a persistent fear of more attacks, or you change your behavior significantly because of them, you have something called panic disorder. Nearly one in 20 adults have it, and women are twice as likely as men to get it.
Many people with panic disorder relate an attack to what they were doing when it happened. They may think the restaurant, elevator, or classroom caused the attack. Then they’ll avoid those places. That may lead to something called agoraphobia — the fear of leaving home or being in public places.
What brings on panic attacks and panic disorder isn’t clear. Some researchers believe panic disorder may come from an oversensitivity to carbon dioxide, which makes your brain think you’re suffocating. There’s also an association between panic attacks and phobias, like school phobia or claustrophobia.
Some believe there are ties between panic attacks and:
Seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that happens in winter.
Panic disorder may start after:
A serious illness or accident
The death of a close friend
Separation from family
The birth of a baby
Attacks may come after the use of mind-altering drugs. Most often, however, they come “out of the blue.” One may even begin while you’re sleeping.
Some medications can cause panic attacks, including some antidepressants.
If you’re 40 or older and have panic disorder, you may have depression or another hidden medical condition. Talk to your doctor to find out what’s going on.
Usually, a panic attack comes with a few of these:
A sense of approaching danger
Quick, intense, heartbeat
Cramps in your belly
Numbness or tingling
Shortness of breath
A feeling that you’re apart from reality
If you feel like you’re having a panic attack, see you doctor right away. While they are not dangerous, they can get worse without treatment.
Symptoms of a panic attack are similar to those for more serious conditions. If you’re not sure if what you’re having is a panic attack, call your doctor, just to be safe.