You're overcome by strange and alarming symptoms. Your heart is racing. You're shaking and clammy. You can't sit still. You can't breathe. Your chest hurts. Your hands tingle. You feel icy and hot at the same time. Immediate thoughts turn to a heart attack or something else that's seriously wrong. It could be a panic attack.
When stress builds up, panic attacks can hit out of the blue. Some never experience them, others get trapped in a cycle of them. Family caregivers are prone to anxiety and panic attacks due to the constant demands of care. They're hard to stop.
How Are Panic Attacks Diagnosed?
During or shortly after a panic attack, a doctor will likely run an EKG to study the heart. If that's normal, an echocardiogram may be ordered. A cardiolite stress test will also show a cardiologist if there is anything wrong with the heart. If all of this is negative and the symptoms keep reappearing, the doctor will turn to anxiety.
Doctors usually look for anxiety's key symptoms. Shaking, feeling sweaty or clammy, difficulty breathing, and numbness/tingling in the extremities are all common. You may find your heart races or skips beats. You may feel like you're detached and no one can see or hear you. If some or all of those symptoms are present and your heart scans were fine, the diagnosis will shift towards treating anxiety.
There are medications that can help ease anxiety. You may prefer to see a therapist and learn skills to overcome the anxiety that takes over. If you're having panic attacks, the one thing you shouldn't do is avoid things that you think caused the anxiety attack.
For example, if a person has a panic attack while shopping, they may decide to never set foot in that store again. If the panic attack happened while playing tennis, the person may opt to never play tennis again. This can make panic attacks worse. Isolation and avoidance are not the answers.
What Can You Do?
Find a way to bring in respite care. A senior care agency will send a caregiver to your mom or dad's home. Let that caregiver take over and go do something that helps ease stress. Attend a fitness class, go for a long walk, or go out with friends.
Senior care services ensure you have time for the most important aspect of being a family caregiver. You have to take care of yourself. Self-care cannot be ignored. Schedule respite care now.
if you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Larkspur, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 303-953-9924.