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12 Surprising Ways Anxiety Manifests Itself Physically (Part 1)

Written by Courteney

Posted on February 5, 2017 at 11:44 pm

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Anxiety can be tricky, perhaps even the chameleon of mental health issues. It can manifest itself mentally, emotionally and physically, often mimicking symptoms of physical health conditions and confusing everyone in its wake. Most everyone will have little surges of anxiety from time to time, but some people battle excess anxiety daily, which can be tiring and perplexing. Anxiety disorders affect over 40 million American adults, and this is a modest estimate. Even those who don’t have underlying anxiety disorders may still have a little too much anxiety or have the occasional panic attack. Let’s take a look at the first 6 of our 12 physical signs that you could be dealing with too much anxiety:

  1. Heart palpitations – Many people don’t realize that anxiety can actually affect how the heart beats. If you feel flutters, the sensation of ‘skipped beats’ or a sensation of thumping, anxiety could be the culprit. More often than not, palpitations are nothing to worry about. However, in some cases, these feelings can be symptoms of arrhythmias (disorders that cause potentially dangerous irregular heartbeats), so it is important to talk to a doctor if you are getting palpitations.
  2. Chest painUp to 40% of those suffering a panic attack will experience some kind of chest pain. It can take the form of quick shooting or darting pains, slow burning aches or a crushing feeling. It is important that anyone experiencing chest pain is medically evaluated to rule out any underlying or emergency heart problems. More often than not, people who wind up in the ER for chest pains are not having a heart attack. There are many non-cardiac conditions can cause chest pain, but it is important to check it out nonetheless.
  3. Raised heart rate (tachycardia) – When you are afraid, anxious, or stressed out, the brain sends out the ‘fight or flight’ signal to the heart to speed up in anticipation of potential danger. If you notice your heart racing routinely, you should check in with the doc to make sure you don’t have any other health issues, or to discuss potential treatments for anxiety.
  4. Dry mouth – Anxiety can reduce the amount of saliva produced by your salivary glands, which leads to the feeling of a dry or parched mouth. Dry mouth can also be caused by antidepressants or other medications, as well as certain conditions (such as Sjogren’s syndrome).
  5. Polyuria (frequent urination) – If you are chronically or overly stressed, you may find an increased urge to urinate. Like many of the symptoms on this list, polyuria can also be a sign of more serious health conditions such as diabetes, but a surplus of anxiety can certainly cause you to keep running to the washroom.
  6. Gastrointestinal problems – sometimes people who have extra anxiety struggle with diarrhea, constipation, or a touchy stomach. Their symptoms can be similar to those of irritable bowel syndrome, or a person may have both anxiety and IBS, as the stomach and brain are closely linked.

That concludes Part 1 of our look at how anxiety can cause physical symptoms, but stay tuned next for a look at the next few! Thanks for visiting DocChat, remember, our excellent board-certified doctors are standing by 24/7/365 for any health-related questions you may have.

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