Anxiety is one of the most common psychological factors affecting the global health and is associated with complex presentations. The clinical signs and symptoms of panic disorder are very similar to coronary heart diseases like stroke and heart attack. Anxiety attacks can occur as a result of sudden exposure to emotional or psychological trauma or a result of persistent tension or fear. Anxiety attacks are often too sudden, but within a short span it leaves the victim collapsed.
A panic attack occurs as a result of the body’s natural response of ‘fight or flight’ triggered under stressful condition. This body mode induces the release of the hormones ‘adrenaline’, which further leads the victim experience various physical changes like sweating, trembling or shaking, sensations of shortness of breath, feelings of choking, palpitations, pounding heart, and fear of dying.
Although panic attacks are stressful they generally do not cause any harm to the body. On the other hand, stroke is a medical condition caused by occlusion or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain and is a medical emergency.
Tingling Sensations and Numbness in Hands and Feet
Due to the constriction or the narrowing of the blood vessels, secondarily to the release of the adrenaline, the blood flow of the body gets compromised. This leads to tingling sensation and numbness in the hands and feet. This finding coincides with the onset of stroke, which also results in an inadequate blood supply to the body parts and the victim experiencing numbness of the limbs.
Disturbed and Altered Vision
Anxiety can attribute to alteration in visionary senses as well. The elevated levels of adrenaline in the blood lead to the dilation of pupil and subsequently increased sensitivity to the perception of light. This triggers episodes of vision disturbances including blurred vision, double vision or no vision. Similarly in stroke, the damage to the brain cells also induces visual alterations.
Onset of Headache
The release of adrenaline during the panic attack also leads to muscle contraction. This further generates tension in the body parts including shoulder, neck and head, which further induces the onset of headache in the person. Headache can also be attributed to the anxiety, which causes constriction of the blood vessels supplying the brain, leading to inadequate blood flow and a subsequent onset of headache. This common presentation of headache during stroke is due to the insufficient oxygen supply to brain cells which results in headache.