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After Menopause, Panic Attacks Seem to Ease With Age

Hormone therapy doesn't make a difference either, researchers add

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 24, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Panic attacks appear to strike younger postmenopausal women more than older women, says a new study.

However, whether a woman uses hormone therapy does not seem to affect whether she has panic attacks, the study adds.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston surveyed 3,369 women, aged 50 to 79, enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative study. Nearly 18 percent of them reported some form of panic attack in the previous six months. The researchers defined a panic attack as "sudden fear, anxiety or extreme discomfort."

Besides a younger age, traits linked to the attacks included lower income, frequent migraine headaches, thyroid problems, cardiopulmonary disease and depression, as well as having experienced so-called "negative life events" -- things such as illness or death -- in the past year.

The findings appear in the Sept. 22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about panic attacks.

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, news release, Sept. 22, 2003
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