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A Panic Attack Can Be Confused with a Heart Attack

It is not uncommon for our highly trained doctors employed at the Front Range Primary Care locations in Denver, Panic Attack SymptomsTrinidad or Thornton, CO, to treat patients who come to our clinics very agitated and fearful, and claim they suffered a heart attack recently or that a heart attack is about to happen. Many individuals are so afraid of heart attacks - and they should be - that they can become confused by some cardiovascular symptoms they experience, and mistakenly consider them as the early signs of a heart attack or a severe episode of high blood pressure. The most common occurrence seen by our medical staff, which is providing immediate primary physician care to everyone with health complaints, is to confuse a panic or an anxiety attack for a heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction in professional medical circles. The patients are not to blame, because some of the symptoms can be similar, and may generate a lot of anxiety that further amplifies the symptoms, which creates even more confusion and fear. Heart attacks should be feared, and it is very healthy to become moderately anxious when the first symptoms occur, because it means that you will seek immediate medical attention or ask someone who is near you for help. 

A Heart Attack Involves Suffering of the Heart Muscle Fibers 

The common symptoms of panic attacks and incipient heart attacks may be chest pain, shortness of breath or a feeling of suffocation, and a rapid heartbeat or palpitations. However, our talented primary care physicians know how to distinguish an abnormality originating in the heart muscle, which is a very dangerous medical occurrence requiring immediate emergency care, and anxiety originating from the brain’s emotional region, which can also result in cardiovascular symptoms. A heart attack may occur when the blood flow through the small heart arteries is obstructed, which can result in the death of a certain number of heart muscle cells that receive nutrients and oxygen through the affected artery. The chest pain that occurs before a heart attack is relatively specific, and it can be felt extending into the shoulder and even into the jaw. It signals a blood flow obstruction, so the patient needs to be transported immediately to any medical clinic capable of providing emergency care. The patient may feel anxious, and the heartbeat may go up to compensate for the partial loss of the blood pumping function of the affected heart muscle. 

Panic Attack Symptoms Originate in the Brain

A panic attack, on the other hand, is originating in the brain, and is usually associated with a healthy heart. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a panic attack sufferer to have a very strong cardiovascular system due to the constant training that his or her heart benefits from during frequent anxiety attacks. Although an anxiety or panic attack involves an activation of the cardiovascular system, such as a rapid heartbeat, temporary high blood pressure, dizziness and shortness of breath, it is a purely nervous response generated by fear that becomes uncontrollable and is converted into a general activation of the stress-response nervous system, also known as the sympathetic nervous system. There is no need to be able to distinguish precisely between panic attacks and heart attacks like a medical professional, so if you or a family member experience suspicious symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact our doctors and the talented assisting medical staff at the Front Range Primary Care medical clinics for a thorough assessment. 


What Causes Sinus Infections?

A sinus infection can cause bothersome symptoms that may ruin one’s physical well-being, mental focus and work Sinus Infection Treatmentproductivity. Individuals who suffer from a sinus infection usually complain about symptoms like difficulty with nasal breathing, nasal congestion, also known as a stuffy nose, a swollen face, especially in the area around the nose, facial pain, nasal discharge and headaches, among other signs. What are sinus infections? The nasal passages communicate with several air-filled cavities located within the bone structures of the face that are called paranasal sinuses. The mucosa layer of these cavities can become inflamed, which may cause an increased production of mucus, swelling and nasal discharge accompanied by breathing difficulties.

Viruses are the Most Common Cause of Sinus Infections

A sinus infection, which is also known as an acute rhinosinusitis, can be caused by viruses, bacteria and, less frequently, fungi. It is a well-documented fact that most upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses. For example, the common cold and the flu are both caused by viruses that provoke inflammation in the mucosa and trigger symptoms that appear as a result of viral spreading and multiplication. When these viruses extend towards the paranasal sinuses, they may cause a sinus infection. A viral sinus infection, just like any other upper respiratory infection like the common cold, is usually short and self-limiting, and the symptoms usually disappear within 7-10 days. In fact, sinus infections that last longer than 10 days are usually caused by bacteria rather than viruses. Highly experienced medical personnel employed by the Front Range Primary Care medical center in Denver and Thornton, CO, can successfully differentiate between a viral and a bacterial sinus infection when evaluating suspicious symptoms, such as nasal discharge, difficulty with nose breathing, facial pain or nasal congestion. The differentiation between these two types of common sinus infections is essential because antibiotics, which may neutralize severe bacterial infections, are useless in viral infections. Moreover, unnecessary antibiotic administration is undesirable because it may lead to tolerance and bacterial resistance, which may complicate the treatment of subsequently occurring infections.

Several Risk Factors May Increase One’s Vulnerability to Sinus Infections

Individuals who have certain anatomical and functional abnormalities in their nasal passages and paranasal sinuses may be more susceptible to sinus infections. Nasal polyps, which are masses of nasal mucosa tissue that grow outwards and occupy nasal passages and sinuses, may facilitate viral or bacterial spreading and extension, and may increase the risk of frequent, recurring sinus infections. Nasal polyps can be easily removed through endoscopic surgery and their recurrence can be prevented through anti-inflammatory nasal sprays that contain cortisol-derived medication. Individuals suffering from respiratory allergies, such as hay fever, may also be more likely to have frequent sinus infections because their nasal mucosa is sensitive to inflammation and the defense mechanisms are not functioning properly. Certain anatomical abnormalities, such as a deviated  nasal septum, may also facilitate the appearance of sinus infection symptoms in susceptible individuals. Sinus infections are easily treated if diagnosed in early stages before they become chronic. Don’t hesitate to contact the highly trained medical staff at the Denver and Thornton, CO locations of the Front Range Primary Care for a medical examination if you or a family member experience symptoms that may suggest a sinus infection.  

What Are Some Complications With Sinus Infections?

Sinus infections may trigger unpleasant symptoms, such as nasal obstruction that causes difficulty with nasal breathing, Sinus Infection Treatmentnasal discharge through an increased production of mucus, facial pain, headaches, among several other bothersome complaints. Highly trained physicians and skilled nurses working at the Front Range Primary Care clinic in Denver and Thornton, Colorado are experienced enough to diagnose and treat sinus infections, also known as acute rhinosinusitis, in their early stages, which dramatically lowers the probability of complications. The inflammation of the mucosa in the paranasal sinuses and nasal airways causes swelling, airflow obstruction and nasal discharge, which usually diminish and disappear within 10 days, but may become chronic if some symptoms last longer than 12 weeks. Sinus infections that are caused by viruses typically start with intense and unpleasant symptoms, but they usually disappear relatively quickly in about a week. Sinus infections caused by bacteria may last longer, and they may convert into more severe complications, some of which may be life-threatening.

Untreated Acute Sinus Infections May Become Chronic After Several Weeks

Our superbly trained physicians and medical staff diagnosed and treated numerous individuals with chronic sinusitis, which is the most common complication of an acute sinus infection episode. If the first acute sinus infection is detected early through a detailed physical examination and diagnostic tests, then, with adequate medication and physical therapy, the symptoms can disappear within several days. Unfortunately, many individuals choose to tolerate the symptoms and avoid consulting a physician for their complaints. The time between the first symptoms of an acute sinus infection and its conversion to a chronic sinus infection may be variable, but most medical professionals agree that a sinus infection lasting longer than three months is probably a chronic sinus infection. It means that the affected individuals may experience mild sinusitis symptoms most of the time, but the symptoms may become more intense when the immune system is weaker or when exposed to poor nutrition or weather conditions. An untreated sinus infection can also increase the frequency and the intensity of asthma attacks in individuals with a hypersensitive respiratory system. Because the nasal cavities communicate with the ears through a narrow passage, an untreated acute sinus infection may spread to the ears and cause an ear infection.

Sinus Infections May Result in Severe Complications

If the cause of the sinus infection, especially if it is bacterial, is not neutralized through adequate treatment involving nasal irrigation, nasal decongestants, anti-inflammatory medication or antibiotics, then it may spread to various parts of the head, resulting in severe and even life-threatening complications. If the infection is “powerful” enough to spread to the outer lining or membrane covering the brain, then a life-threatening complication called meningitis may occur. The inflammation of the outer protective layer of the brain is very difficult to treat with antibiotics, so prevention is key to avoiding life-threatening symptoms. The infection may spread from the sinuses to the eye sockets, causing inflammation of the eyes and vision problems. Individuals who have recurring, intense episodes of sinus infection are encouraged to schedule an appointment at the Front Range Primary Care medical center located in Denver, CO, for timely treatment of their sinusitis before severe complications can deteriorate their health even more.


How Can You Prevent Sinus Infections?

Sinus infections can dramatically decrease the quality of your life, your physical and mental well-being, especially if they become chronic. Sinus infection symptoms, such as nasal congestion and discharge, difficulty with breathing through the nose due to obstructed air passages, throbbing facial pain and swelling, among other types of physical discomfort, which last more than 12 weeks are signs of a chronic infection. Although chronic sinus infections can be effectively treated or managed by skilled physicians and nurses, prevention is the best remedy for the bothersome symptoms that can disrupt your life and your mental focus. Highly trained medical doctors at the Front Range Primary Care medical center in Denver, CO have formulated several recommendations that should help individuals avoid sinus infections and enjoy their lives without the unpleasant respiratory symptoms and mental discomfort. Here are the most effective recommendations and lifestyle adjustments that can significantly lower the probability of a sinus infection if they are implemented correctly.

Sinus Infections are a Result of Upper Respiratory Infections

A sinus infection rarely starts in the paranasal sinuses, which are cavities formed by facial bones around the nose. Typically, the infection spreads to these cavities from other parts of the respiratory passages, such as the throat, the nose or even the ears. A rhinitis, which is the inflammation of the nasal mucosa caused by a virus, can extend towards the sinuses and convert into an acute rhinosinusitis, which is the medical term for a sinus infection. Sometimes the symptoms may originate in the throat and extend upwards to the nose, and then to the paranasal sinuses. Whatever the origin of the infection, or its nature, such as viral or bacterial, the timely treatment of an incipient upper respiratory infection is the most solid way to avoid a sinus infection. Consult with an experienced doctor if you notice bothersome upper respiratory symptoms, such as a stuffy or a runny nose, throat pain or swelling, fever, or cough. Try to reduce the potential physical contact with individuals who have the cold or the flu, and implement adequate hygiene, such as washing your hands with water and soap, before every meal.

Adequate Treatment of Allergies Can Prevent Sinus Infections

If you suffer from respiratory allergies, such as hay fever, or you are an asthmatic, then you are more vulnerable than others to sinus infections. Because your nasal and sinus mucosa are susceptible to inflammation and increased mucus production, which occur in both allergies and sinus infections, you should partner with your doctor to reduce the impact of your allergy on your defense mechanisms. Individuals with frequent allergy episodes are more prone to nasal inflammation and they may have a weaker immune response, which facilitates the extension of an upper respiratory infection to the paranasal sinuses. Contact our experienced medical personnel at the Front Range Primary Care in Denver, CO and schedule an appointment to evaluate your allergy symptoms through advanced allergy tests, and then benefit from solid allergy treatment, such as antihistamines or immunotherapy. Investing in a humidifier is a great way to reduce the probability of a sinus infection, which is more likely to “flourish” in an environment with dry air.



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