Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Am I having a heart attack or some kind of seizure?"

ZocdocAnswersAm I having a heart attack or some kind of seizure?


I am a 50 year old woman. Sometimes my throat gets tight and feel I cannot breathe. Yet the air flows through my throat in and out of my lungs without trouble. The tightness in my throat makes me cough and rarely makes me vomit. Am I have heart attacks?


It is unclear what is causing your symptoms, but you should go see your primary care physician to get a check-up and further investigate your complaints. Your symptoms do not sounds like a seizure. Even seizures that do not cause whole-body rhythmic jerking and shaking movements usually cause some form of transient loss of awareness or confusion. On the other hand, heart disease can present with nausea and shortness of breath, as well as a feeling of tightness in the throat. Given that these symptoms are occurring more than once, it is unlikely that they are true heart attacks; however they may be signs that your heart is under stress (the equivalent of the typical angina or chest pain that other people with heart disease may experience). Alternatively, your symptoms may be a result of another process altogether, such as anxiety, panic attacks or vocal cord dysfunction, all of which could cause very similar symptoms. Your doctor can help you determine which of these problems is likely affecting you, and help you devise a treatment plan in an effort to relieve your symptoms and stop them from returning.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.