People who have a panic disorder tend to avoid exercise.


The exercise avoidance in a patient with a panic disorder may be a consequence of:

(1) fear of triggering a panic attack

(2) being reminded of a panic attack by exercise-induced tachycardia, tachypnea, etc

(3) irrational fear of a heart attack or other health problem


A patient with agoraphobia may be unable to exercise outside of the home.


Complications of exercise avoidance:

(1) obesity (which may be associated with degenerative arthritis in knees and hips)

(2) increased cardiovascular risk

(3) deconditioning

(4) reinforcement of panic disorder


Differential diagnosis: Someone with an underlying disease (such as ischemic heart disease) where excessive exertion could trigger an adverse event.


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