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For those with actual anxiety


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I always hate it when doctors tell you that it's "just anxiety."

I came across this article recently and wanted to share it with those of you who also experience anxiety in addition to POTS. I think it's very important research and proves that anxiety needs to be treated as an early warning sign to potential heart problems.


One of my doctors told me it didn't matter if I treated my anxiety with medication or not. I also struggled a bit at the end of my pregnancy because I thought it was better to be off the anxiety meds than to subject my unborn child to their potentially harmful effects. Now, I realize that not taking my medication was probably worse for her and for me.


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I'm joking of course, and a thank you to calypso who's heart is in the right place for postig this.

But those of us with heart arythmias who already think we are dying are likely to take this new "study" and lodge it deep in our brains as one more reason to fear for our lives.

Even the researcher says "Albert says much of this increased risk was explained by the fact that women who had high levels of anxiety were also more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol."

Keep in mind those of us who have taken research design 101 in college ... you can not prove causation from corelation data. Phobias didn't cause these women to drop dead. My guess is if we dig a little deeper we'll find out which drug company funded the study.

My apologies for the rant, I really don't want to ever discourage us from sharing information ... but as with everything take a critical eye and follow your doctor's advice and your own instints.


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Thanks for posting the article. Give us something else to worry about now, great! :P

Since getting POTS last summer, I deal with a lot of anxiety. I don't take any meds accept one-half of .25mg Klonopin at night. However, I have some Xanax that I take once in a blue moon during the day if I really really need it.

So the question is will taking anti-anxiety meds like Xanax reduce your chances of cardiac arrest enough to outweigh the harmful effects that it causes to your liver, not to mention dependency, etc.?

Also, if you notice at the end of the article that the women studied were more like to be hypertensive, smokers, diabetics, etc (which would increase their risk of heart attack).

That said, I do not have hypertension, nor smoke or diabetic, but I am fairly certain that when I die the cause will be sudden cardiac arrest. :o I've had my heart go into arrythmias that were scary and painful as heck. I know anxiety adds to this and sometimes I can't control it no matter what I do. :) In the mean time, I'm just trying to enjoy my life and remain ever hopeful that I'll improve! :)

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Earth Mother,

Now I feel bad ... I certainly didn't mean to make anyone worry more. I guess I figure that there's absolutely NOTHING you can do about preventing sudden death aside from having cardiac testing, which we've all had. It is very possible this study was funded by the makers of an antidepressant or benzo or something. I really don't know.

What I felt was important here is that doctors often dismiss anxiety as a not-serious health problem, when in fact it may be. The part of this study that bothered me the most, too, was this paragraph:

Those risks were lower after taking other risk factors commonly found in people with phobic anxiety into account, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. But researchers say even after controlling for these heart disease risk factors, women with phobias tended to have a higher risk of sudden cardiac death.

Now, I figure being nervous all the time is not helpful to your heart. We probably don't need any study to tell us that. But I just think sometimes maybe we are so afraid of taking medications that possibly could help us. I don't know if I made the right choice or not, choosing to stop my anxiety meds during my pregnancy. I will never know. But this made me think.

Gena, what is the deal with liver problems and xanax? I know all meds get processed by the liver, but is there a particular danger with that class of meds?

I also kind of think -- morbidly, I know -- that I'll just drop dead one day. My dad did, although he had MANY risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, etc.), and it's often on my mind. But again, we are all doing everything we can to live healthily and I agree that enjoying each moment is really the best thing to do.

On the up side, dropping dead is at least fast and painless :):P

Just kidding. And please, everyone, don't sit home tonight panicking because of this research! If you look at the number of women who died out of 72,000, it was less than 1,200 or something -- a relatively low number. And no ages are given -- I would suspect these were postmenopausal women or at least middle age.


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Amy, re: "I don't know if I made the right choice or not, choosing to stop my anxiety meds during my pregnancy. I will never know." I wonder ... you made it through OK, you're baby's healthy... How could this decision be anything BUT the right one for you? We all do the best we can, making countless choices every day. Hopefully, we won't suffer from the effects of regret when things go wrong as a result of the difficult choices we make ... but when things go well? No regret, no question.

PS I didn't read the article you posted.

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Hi all,

I think the article is good, but even this anxiety strung girl won't lose sleep over it. My philosophy has always been "When it's time, it's time". If I did drop over from SCA, it wouldn't be the worst thing - there are much more horrible ways to go. But instead of focusing on death, or dying, I focus on what I have while I am still here. Have I made a positive difference in people's lives? Did I come through for my loved ones? Have I made this earth a better place for being in it?

Don't let your worries run your life. Don't worry about dying and death. Those things will all come to us inevitably. Focus instead on every minute you have with the people, animals, and nature that you love. And let them love you. :P

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My mom had scd at age 45. She was revived and lived another 20 years, went through 3 open hearts and an angioplasty. She smoked and had kidney disease, but she did not have phobias. What they are describing are type A personalities and it's long been a known fact that a type A personality has a higher rate of heart problems. All they did was change Type A to phobias. An anxiety is NOT a phobia. Phobias are irrational fears of things. Of course I worry when my son doesn't come home when he says he's going to, as all good moms do. I don't like elevators because my brother pinned me under a very small box and kept me there a long time. But I still take elevators. I imagine most of us would rather not go out in public noisy places, because that sets off adrenaline rushes. Not because we are agoraphobic. I guess what I'm trying to say, is even those of us that are anxious are not PHOBIC. There is a huge difference. We need to keep these things in mind when reading articles like these and take things with a grain of salt. I mean really, when I had my first son, they told me if I breast fed him he would die of cancer. He's 28. Who are the phobic ones. There are always going to be weird articles and studies, as long as people get grants to do weird studies. We are going to live till we die and nothing on earth is going to change that. What ever way we go is not going to change whether we are sick or not. I could get smashed by a truck tomorrow and they could start a study that says, women with pots get smashed by trucks. There's just always going to be stuff like this. Pick and choose what you want to study and what you want to laugh at. I would expect a phobic, obese, kidney failure, diabetic, hypertensive to have a shorter than average life span. If I had all those things, I'd want a shorter life span. :P I think I may not be clear, but hopefully someone somewhere gets this. morgan

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Hey, Calypso, don't feel bad for posting the article. It's good to keep up on what the experts are saying. But, I agree with everyone here. I don't think the study is something to worry about. They watched 72,000 people over the course of 12 years, if I'm remembering rightly. In that time, a little over 1000 people developed heart problems--is that right?-- and those people happened to have phobias. Now, how many of those 72,000 people, in those 12 years, who happened to have phobias, developed asthma? cancer? diabetes? ingrown toe nails? bunions? required bi-fogals for the first time? cataracts? You get my point. Did the phobias have anything to do with these conditions? They were looking for heart problems in these people, and they found them. I'm sure, with 72,000 people over the course of years, if the study was focusing on cancer, they would have found that over 1,000 of these same people would have developed some form of cancer. Would they have blamed the phobias for that? Probably, because that's what they would have been looking for. In a study, they have to rule out all other possibilities for their findings, such as coincidence.

You have to really be careful when reading studies. Statistics are one of the easiest things to manipulate--I took a course in college about argument and saw this in action. Just be sure to question, when reading new study information. If it seems sealed too tightly with "conclusive evidence," when you know there are tons of questions still surrounding the subject, it's simply another "could be" study. Take heart, everyone.


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