Written by: Laura Crawford
Many people who have anxiety experience very similar symptoms – bursts of rapid heartbeat (heart palpitations), dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Sometimes it is hard to discern what happens first, the mental/emotional stressor or the physical symptoms.
There is one condition that isn’t spoken about often when it comes to anxiety symptoms and that is called Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP). Essentially it is a condition where one or more valves of your heart are a little floppier, and it impacts how well blood flows through the system. Luckily, this condition is not dangerous or life threatening and usually doesn’t require treatment. Females are twice as likely to experience this as males, and the symptoms can develop with age.
Mitral Valve Prolapse carries all of the hallmark symptoms of anxiety:
Because it is so similar to anxiety it often goes undiagnosed. If you want to investigate if you have this condition, please speak to your doctor.
If you have mitral valve prolapse you will find it increases your symptoms of anxiety and you will have to begin to get to know your body on a deeper level to understand if your body is just talking to you (experiencing symptoms), or if you experienced a stressor that is activating your heart. The body is an incredible communicator, and we don’t always know what it is telling us. With the right supports we can get to know our bodies, and ourselves a little better.
Laura Crawford began her career in healthcare in 2011, practicing naturopathic medicine for seven years with a focus on mind-body connection. Laura has also completed various additional coursework, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Following some time off to start her family, Laura is currently completing her education in Gestalt psychotherapy at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto.