Heart Attack or a Panic Attack? Knowing the Difference Could Save Your Life

Is it a Heart Attack or Panic Attack.

On November 5, 2017, The Cleveland Cavelier’s All-Star forward Kevin Love left the game, fearing that he was having a heart attack. The 31-year-old, 6’8” professional athlete is larger than life, and seemingly in optimal physical condition. Yet on November 5, Love described symptoms that would make many of us call 9-1-1. He has since been quoted as saying the following:

I was winded within the first few possessions. That was strange…After halftime, it all hit the fan. Coach Lue called a timeout in the third quarter. When I got to the bench, I felt my heart racing faster than usual. Then I was having trouble catching my breath. It’s hard to describe, but everything was spinning like my brain was trying to climb out of my head. The air felt thick and heavy. My mouth was like chalk…

“By that point, I was freaking out. When I got up to walk out of the huddle, I knew I couldn’t reenter the game — like, literally, couldn’t do it physically…I blurted something like, ‘I’ll be right back,’ and I ran back to the locker room. I was running from room to room like I was looking for something I couldn’t find. Really I was just hoping my heart would stop racing. It was like my body was trying to say to me, You’re about to die. I ended up on the floor in the training room, lying on my back, trying to get enough air to breathe.

“The next part was a blur. Someone from the Cavs accompanied me to the Cleveland Clinic. They ran a bunch of tests. Everything seemed to check out, which was a relief. But I remember leaving the hospital thinking, Wait…then what the hell just happened?”

What is a Panic Attack?

What Love experienced was a panic attack, sudden, intense fear or discomfort that escalates within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Heart palpitations, accelerated heart rate, or heart-pounding
  • Sweating
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or the feeling of being smothered
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or losing one’s mind
  • Fear of being about to die

While the exact causes of panic attacks are not known, they are often genetically linked or tied to the stress of a significantly transitional life experience, such as moving, the death of a loved one, or graduating. Panic attacks may come on unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere, or they could be triggered by intense fear, such as crossing a bridge or public speaking. When a trigger is recurring and unavoidable (such as being in public), the fear of experiencing a panic attack alone can trigger one.

The Fight or Flight Reflex

Humans, as a species, have evolved over millennia to survive. When threatened, our bodies experience a fight or flight reflex. In these moments, stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine spike in the system. People who regularly have panic attacks experience these hormonal spikes when, in reality, they are not in physical danger. What they feel in response, however, is all the same physical panic symptoms as if they were being chased or about to fight off an attacker: escalated heart rate, shortness of breath, and a feeling that they are about to die.

Heart Attack, Or Panic Attack?

Many symptoms of a panic attack can understandably be misconstrued for a panic attack, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, leading many sufferers to seek medical treatment and even hospitalization during an attack. The following symptomatic differentiators are meant only as referenceable guidelines. If you have any concerns that you may be suffering from a life-threatening cardiac episode, seek emergency medical care.


  • While both panic attacks and heart attacks can come on suddenly without warning, a heart attack is sometimes triggered by physical exertion


  • During a panic attack, chest pain is typically sharp and localized to the middle of the chest
  • During a heart attack, chest pain feels more like severe pressure that starts in the center of the chest but radiates to the arm, shoulders, or jaw


  • Most panic attacks end in 20 to 30 minutes
  • During a heart attack, symptoms last longer and exacerbate, sometimes escalating from mild to severe discomfort

When to Get Help

Today, Kevin Love is a powerful advocate in the NBA for mental health awareness. He continues to speak publically about his battles with anxiety to bring awareness and hope to those suffering in silence. If you are continually experiencing panic attacks, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you devise a treatment plan so that you can regain control over your emotions and your life.

How to Save a Life. Learn How to Administer the Heimlich Maneuver

Image to Learn the Heimlich Maneuver

You love it when your daughter laughs. Her wide grin and tightly closed eyes paired with her high pitched giggle are infectious. Making her laugh over family dinner is the best part of your day. Until something goes wrong—desperately, tragically wrong. Her laugh turns into a frightened, shocked expression. She’s gesturing toward her throat and banging her hands on the table, eyes wide and frantic.

She’s choking.

Would you know what to do? You’ve heard of the Heimlich Maneuver and seen the posters on restaurant walls for years, but in a moment when seconds count, would you know how to save the life of a loved one?

About 4,000 adults die annually from choking, and even more devastatingly, one child dies every five days in the U.S. as a result of choking. Every parent, child, friend, sibling, and adult should know how to administer the Heimlich Maneuver so that if the unthinkable happens, you can confidently respond with this life-saving tactic. Read on to learn the basics of how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver when someone—anyone—is choking.

What is the Heimlich Maneuver?

Also known as abdominal thrusts, the Heimlich Maneuver was invented by the American thoracic surgeon Henry Heimlich. It is a technique to aid a person who is choking by applying rapid, quick thrusts to the person’s abdomen to lift the diaphragm and expel air from the lungs, causing the expulsion of the object lodged in the airway.

How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver

Note that the instructions below only apply when the victim is not:

  • You
  • A pregnant woman
  • An obese adult
  • An infant

Techniques vary when the victim is any of the individuals listed above. For more information, visit The Mayo Clinic.

  1. Determine if you need to intervene. If the victim is conscious and coughing (i.e., some air is coming out of their mouth), breathing, or speaking, then he or she may be able to dispel the object on their own. Give them a few seconds to attempt to work through the situation unaided. If the individual’s condition worsens, or they stop breathing, proceed to step two.
  2. Instruct someone nearby to call 9-1-1. If you are in public and are not alone with the victim, instruct someone nearby to call for emergency responders. Even if the victim recovers and regains their breath, they may suffer from damage to their throat as a result of temporarily having food or a foreign object lodged in their airway. Having the victim assessed by medical professionals is always a conservative and wise decision.
  3. Have the person stand up. You will need them to be erect to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.
  4. Stand behind the victim.
  5. Lean the victim forward and give five blows to his or her back with the heel of your hand. If the back blows do not dislodge the object, proceed to step number six.
  6. Place your arms around the victim’s waist.
  7. With one hand, make a first just above his or her belly button with your thumb facing in toward the victim’s body.
  8. Wrap your other hand around your fist.
  9. With your arms, firmly push simultaneously inward and upward on the victim’s abdomen five times. This movement is called abdomen thrusts.
  10. Continue until the object is expelled or the victim can breathe, cough, or talk, or emergency personnel arrives.

Any of us could find ourselves in a situation where we are someone’s first line of defense in a dangerous and potentially deadly situation. By understanding the basics of life-saving first aid, we could save the life of a stranger or a loved one. Regardless of who they are, theirs is a life worth saving, and knowing the Heimlich Maneuver could give you the confidence you need to become an everyday hero.

Can You Really Suffer from a Broken Heart? The Answer will Shock You.

Suffer from a broken heart

Valentine’s Day is upon us, which means for little kids, it’s a time for red and pink tees, heart-shaped candies, and handwritten greetings equitably distributed to every peer. However, for many of the 115.78 million single Americans—including those who are divorced, separated, and widowed, Valentine’s Day is anything but a happy occasion. Understanding that Valentine’s Day too often reminds us of those we lost, we are setting out to address a love-related myth: can one really suffer from a broken heart? The answer is yes. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy—broken heart syndrome—is real, and it’s named after an octopus trap (let us explain).

What is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome is not something made up by Country music singers (although we do love a good Achy Breaky Heart line dance). It is a temporary heart condition often triggered by extreme emotions or a stressful situation, such as the loss of a loved one. Surgery or physical illness may also trigger the condition.

The syndrome is characterized by a temporary disruption of the heart’s normal pumping function in a portion of the heart, while the rest of the organ continues to function normally. Echocardiogram imaging of the heart muscle in individuals experiencing broken heart syndrome typically shows abnormal movements in the left ventricle walls. Most often, the abnormality appears as a ballooning of the lower part of the left ventricle. During constriction, the bulging ventricle looks like a “tako-tsubo,” a Japanese pot used by fishermen to trap octopuses. It is this image that has lent the name takotsubo cardiomyopathy to the condition.

What are the Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome?

Symptoms of Broken heart syndrome are often mistaken for a heart attack. They include chest pain and shortness of breath. If symptoms persist, or you experience a rapid, irregular heartbeat, you may be experiencing a heart attack and should call 911.

What Causes Broken Heart Syndrome?

While the exact cause of broken heart syndrome is unknown, researchers believe it is caused by a surge of adrenaline or other stress hormones that temporarily damage the heart. Others believe symptoms are caused by a temporary constriction of the small or large heart arteries. What is known, however, is that broken heart syndrome is often triggered by an intensely emotional or physically traumatizing event, such as:

  • The death of a loved one
  • A frightening medical diagnosis
  • Job loss
  • Divorce
  • Abuse
  • A financial shock
  • An intense argument
  • A sudden, surprise
  • The anxiety associated with public speaking
  • Physical stress such as a broken bone, major surgery, or asthma attack

Some prescription medications or street drugs may also trigger broken heart syndrome, such as:

  • Epinephrine (EpiPen) that is used to treat an allergic reaction or a severe asthma attack
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta) that is used to treat nerve problems in people with diabetes and depression
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR) that is used to treat depression
  • Levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl) that is used to hypothyroidism
  • Illegal stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine

Who is at Risk?

More than 90 percent of reported cases of broken heart syndrome occurs in women ages 58 to 75.

Treatment for Broken Heart Syndrome

Broken heart syndrome often reverses itself in a few days or weeks, further proving that time heals all wound (but don’t take that expression literally; if you have an open wound or laceration, visit one of our urgent care clinics).

When to Get Help

If you are unsure if the chest pain you are experiencing is a temporary case of broken heart syndrome, or something more serious, always seek medical care. If a heart attack is not the cause of your symptoms, your doctor can help you assess the cause of your symptoms, and if emotional in nature, he or she can provide you with resources to help you cope and recover.

Ten Types of Eating Disorders and How to Get Help

Eating Disorders and How to Get Help

At least 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. That’s more than the population of the entire state of Texas. Even more startling, every 62 minutes, at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder. With ever-present imagery from social media and the constant expectation to be fit, thin, young, and beautiful to be liked (or possibly more important for some, to earn intangible social likes), the prevalence of eating disorders is growing among all ages and genders. If you believe that someone you love may be suffering from an eating disorder, or if you are the one suffering, read on to learn about the current known types of eating disorders, and understand when it’s time to get help.

Types of Eating Disorders

A variety of illnesses characterized by varying behavior patterns and physical side effects make up the eating disorder diagnosis category. Such illnesses include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa – A preoccupation with weight, dieting, food restriction, and excessive exercise that results in dramatic weight loss.
  • Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) – Eating habits that restrict the consumption of certain foods based on smell, taste, texture, past negative experiences, or a fear of choking or vomiting.
  • Binge Eating Disorder – A frequent, recurring, overconsumption of food in a short period, often accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame, and a loss of control.
  • Bulimia Nervosa ­– A behavior pattern that involves overconsumption of food, a practice that is known as bingeing, followed by purging, or self-induced vomiting or the use of laxatives to rid the body of food before calories can be fully consumed.
  • Compulsive Exercise – Excessive exercise that significantly interferes with and impairs daily life occurs at inappropriate times or in improper settings, or continues despite an injury or other medical complications.
  • Diabulimia ­– A behavior practiced by individuals with insulin-dependent Diabetes who intentionally restrict insulin to lose weight.
  • Orthorexia – A preoccupation with “healthy” or “clean” foods and a refusal to eat certain food groups, such as carbohydrates or sugars.
  • Otherwise Specified Feeding Disorder (OSFED) – This diagnosis is used for individuals who present a specified eating disorder with atypical symptoms, such as an anorexic individual who, despite rapid weight loss, remains within or above a healthy weight range.
  • Pica – A persistent eating of non-food items that do not provide nutritional value, such as ice, clay soil, hair, dirt, paper, string, soap, chalk, metal, pebbles, charcoal, or starch.
  • Rumination Disorder – The repeated, involuntary regurgitation of food that is then re-swallowed or spit out.

How to Get Help with an Eating Disorder

If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, or believe that you are developing an unhealthy relationship with food, reach out to get help. Start with your doctor. He or she can provide a diagnosis and work with you to treat not just the eating disorder but any associated symptoms, developing physical health issues and accompanying emotional or mental health complications, such as depression or anxiety. For many patients, larger factors are causing obsessive thoughts and behaviors with food. By understanding your life, symptoms, and beliefs comprehensively, your doctor can help you put a plan in place to start redeveloping a healthy relationship with food—and your body.

Nova Health Launches New Occupational Medicine Services

roseburg Urgent Care

Services promote optimal workplace wellness and occupational injury response at Nova Health Roseburg clinic 

Nova Health, a comprehensive provider of quality urgent care, primary care, physical therapy, and musculoskeletal services in Lane and Douglas counties, announced today the launch of a new occupational medicine service line now available to local employers. Services are currently available at the Nova Health Roseburg clinic (780 NW Garden Valley Boulevard, Suite 310, Roseburg).

“Occupational medicine is a key service for employers in our community,” said Dr. James Daskalos, who https://www.novahealth.com/occupational-medicine/will be leading Nova Health’s Roseburg occupational medicine service line. “I’m thrilled to join Nova Health’s Roseburg team to bring a broad-spectrum of occupational medicine services to local businesses and community members. While furthering accessible healthcare in Roseburg and treating employees back to health with the injured worker program, these range of services also promote long-term employee well-being and the financial health of local businesses.”

As a provider of accessible and quality medical care to Lane and Douglas counties, Nova Health’s occupational medicine services include comprehensive testing, assessment and recovery treatments to help businesses minimize lost productivity, reduce healthcare costs, support long-term employee health. These benefits can ultimately save employers $5 to $161 with every dollar invested in personnel screenings. Nova Health is partnering with local businesses to help companies hire qualified job candidates who are fit-for-duty, maintain optimal wellness of all employees, and ensure a safe return to work after accidents while reducing employer costs.

“Nova Health knows first-hand the need for quality occupational medicine services in our community. These services are designed to ensure employers and employees have a reliable partner dedicated to the organizations safety and wellbeing,” said Bill Clendenen, Nova Health Chief Executive Officer. “It has been found that 25 percent of employer healthcare costs are related to unhealthy lifestyles. By taking proactive care of our employees, we can promote both the health of workers and the financial health our businesses.”

Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Nova Health will host a meet-and-greet with Nova Health providers to celebrate the availability of the new occupational medicine services. The celebration is February 11 from 5-7 p.m. at the Nova Health Garden Valley location (780 NW Garden Valley Boulevard, Suite 310, Roseburg, Oregon 97471), and local business owners, community members and media are invited to attend.

Nova Health’s occupational therapy services include an array of employer-based tests including Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals, drug and alcohol screenings, and even pre-placement strength examinations. With continuous employee wellness a top priority to many employers, Nova Health services also include prevention services, immunizations and vaccines, executive physicals, and Electrocardiogram (EKG) testing. This can help avoid nonfatal accidents, which can result in a median of eight days away from work. In response to onsite accidents, Nova Health is also equipped to thoroughly assess and treat injured employees through occupational injury response and treatment services.

For more information about Nova Health’s occupational medicine services, please visit https://www.novahealth.com/occupational-medicine/.

About Nova Health

Celebrating over ten years of serving patients throughout Lane and Douglas Counties, Nova Health is an outpatient healthcare organization that provides urgent care, primary care, physical therapy services, and musculoskeletal clinic services. Our focus is on providing high-quality patient care to the neighborhoods and communities we serve. Nova Health is a growing company that was established in 2008 with one clinic and nine employees and has grown to 14 clinics all within the Eugene, Springfield, Junction City, Veneta, Oakridge, Cottage Grove, Florence, and Roseburg areas. For more information, please visit novahealth.com.

Media Contact:
Kristine Rice