160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The findings add panic attacks to a list of mental health issues – depression, fear, hostility and anxiety – linked in previous research to heart problems, said study co-author Dr. Jordan Smoller of Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital. “Postmenopausal women who are experiencing panic attacks may be a subgroup with elevated risk,” Smoller said. “Monitoring them and reducing their cardiovascular risk may be important.” The study, published in Monday’s Archives of General Psychiatry, wasn’t designed to explain the link, Smoller said. He speculated that a panic attack may trigger heart rhythm problems or that stress hormones released during an attack may harm the heart. Some of the reported panic symptoms, such as shortness of breath, may have been heart problems in disguise, Smoller said. Forty-one of the 3,243 women in the analysis had a heart attack or death from a heart problem. An additional 40 had strokes. The study followed the women for five years and was funded by the drug company Glaxo Wellcome, which is now GlaxoSmithKline PLC. By Carla K. Johnson THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CHICAGO – The rapid pulse and shortness of breath of a panic attack can feel like a heart attack, and it may signal heart trouble down the road, a study of more than 3,000 older women suggests. Women who reported at least one panic attack in a six-month period were three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke in the next five years than women who didn’t report a panic attack. The researchers took into account other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, inactivity and depression and still found that panic attacks raised risk.