Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Marla Ahlgrimm Speaks About Panic Attacks

Marla-Ahlgrimm-Moods-HormonesStress is not the same as a sudden panic attack, according to Marla Ahlgrimm.

Q: What is a panic attack and how can I know the difference between that and stress?

Marla Ahlgrimm: While it’s possible that a panic attack is related to stress, a true attack is a sudden episode of concentrated fear that can last from just a few minutes to almost half an hour. Unlike sudden bursts of stress, someone experiencing a panic attack has more difficulty processing logical thoughts to calm down.

Q: What are the stages of a panic attack?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A panic attack usually plays out in three stages. First, without warning, an outside trigger will send an alarm to your brain that indicates something is wrong. Once the brain processes these feelings, the body chimes in with a physiologic response. These range from sweating and shaking to stomach discomfort and vertigo. The attack pinnacles with more severe physical and psychological responses.

Q: Why does a panic attack often feel like a heart attack?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The body’s response to a panic attack is the same as when under periods of extreme duress (car wreck, imminent physical harm). The heart rate may increase, intensifying the fear. A heavy heart rate along with sweaty palms and shortness of breath may very well feel like a heart attack to the person experiencing these symptoms. Fortunately, there are usually no long-term side effects to having a panic attack which is good news to those who believe they’re experiencing a more life threatening event like a heart attack.

Q: Is it possible to calm myself down during a panic attack?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Though it may seem impossible at the time, you can bring yourself out of a panic attack. One of the most important things is to simply breathe. Focus on your breaths. Really take the time to listen and feel the airflow. This will distract your mind long enough to get a grip on what’s happening.

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Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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