Mitral Valve Prolapse & Anxiety & Panic

The foremost cardiac anxiety mimicker is mitral valve prolapse (MVP), a common and generally benign inherited heart condition.

The heart is a pump with four chambers. Blood moves through the mitral valve, the valve separating the upper and lower chambers on the left side of your heart, as it passes from the upper to the lower chamber. With mitral valve prolapse, a slight defect prevents the valve from closing completely; some of the blood can flow back from the lower to upper chamber, creating a slight heart murmur.

Though not serious in most cases, the resulting rush of blood from an MVP episode can feel like a fluttering or a racing heart, sometimes accompanied by difficulty breathing and even chest pain. Not surprisingly, many become anxious and may even have a panic attack. So strong is the relationship between MVP and anxiety disorders that studies have found that 30 percent of patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder and 44 percent of patients with bipolar disorder has MVP.

Magnesium deficiency has been proposed as one cause of MVP. A large study found that many patients with MVP are low in magnesium and that taking 600 mg of magnesium one to three times daily improved symptoms. If you decide to self-treat with magnesium supplements, don’t take more than 600 mg of magnesium per day. A suggested product is Calm by Natural Vitality. Consult a holistic doctor for a specific protocol for mitral valve prolapse.

Information taken from Anxiety: Hidden Causes.