New research has revealed that older women who experience panic attacks could be at a greater risk of heart attacks or strokes.
Featured in the latest issue of Archives of general Psychiatry, the study conducted by Jordan W Smoller of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston included monitoring healthy post-menopausal women for more than five years.
Following the tests, the researchers discovered that having one or more panic attacks was associated with four times the risk of myocardial infarction and three times the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
The authors of the report said: "These results suggest that panic anxiety is a marker for increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among postmenopausal women."
The study indicates that older women who have experienced panic attacks have an "elevated" risk of myocardial infarction and stroke, and could benefit from "careful" monitoring, the added.
NHS Direct defines a panic attack as a rush of "overwhelming fear" that can also lead to anxiety between attacks.
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