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Panic attacks indicate greater susceptibility to heart disease

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Sufferers of panic attacks are at increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks than others – and those that have had panic attacks at a younger age are a greater risk.

The study, in the European Heart Journal, reports on almost half a million people from the UK primary care population, representing all ages.

The University College London investigators studied primary care medical records for 57,615 adults diagnosed with panic attacks and 347,039 adults who did not have the condition.

Those under 50 were 38% more likely to have a heart attack and 44% more likely to develop heart disease later on than individuals without the condition. Those over 50 had an 11% increased risk of heart disease.

But surprisingly, the study also showed that the risk of dying from coronary heart disease was reduced by 24% amongst people of all ages who had had panic attacks.

European Heart Journal 2008 29 (24): 281-298

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