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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Does anxiety causes breathlessness, dizziness and increased heart rate?

Answered by
Dr. Olsi Taka


Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3650 Questions

Posted on Thu, 25 Aug 2016 in Brain and Spine
Question: Hi, I work in mental health for past 10 years and have a good ability at calming my mind. However, yesterday while laying in the MRI table for my neck scan, my throat felt like it was closing down and I became very concerned that I would lose the ability to breath. I had to pause the study, then finish it after getting some air outside the machine and water. Last night, I felt the same way laying down in bed. Now, this morning, I have the feeling as well. One other time I felt claustrophobic was on a scuba dive trip (I have over 50+ dives). So..... I think it may be a classic panic attack, however, on my property in Fair Oaks we have a stream with lots of mosquitos. I tend to chicken coop and have gotten stung at least 15 times in past couple days. My symptoms: No rash, throat tightness, slight dizziness, impending fear of not being able to breath. Heart rate is 72 currently (per iWatch). No health problems. Meds taken: Propecia 1mg (for hair growth), 1/4 pill of Flexerill at night for back injury, 100mg Caffeine in AM via Exedrin, 400mg Ibruprofen at night, 50 mg benedryl at night (sleep + allergies), 10mg Claritin (QAM for allergies).
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Anxiety seems to be more likely.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

Looking at that description of your initial symptoms it seems as you say a panic attack, very common in patients having MRI.

Now I suppose you are wondering how to differentiate the current symptoms from an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can be accompanied with anxiety as basically in both cases there is a release of epinephrine (which is a defense mechanism in the case of allergic reaction). However in an anaphylactic reaction apart from the sensations of impending fear, shortness of breath etc there are other symptoms such as skin rash (hives), swelling more extended than the sting site, a drop in blood pressure and raised heart rate.

So judging from the current manifestations anxiety does seem to be the more likely cause.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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