Know More About Silent Heart Attacks
Did you know that almost half of heart attacks have no symptoms? You won’t be able to recognize that it’s a heart attack. You might not experience shortness of breath or pain, which are commonly linked to a heart attack.
Physicians Premier, your Austin, TX emergency room, shares important information about silent heart attack symptoms.
What is a silent heart attack?
Also known as silent Ischemia, a silent heart attack has mild or unrecognized symptoms. However, it is like any other heart attack where there is lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscles, causing damage and scarring.
At Physicians Premier, we normally see patients who come in complaining about problems related to heart disease such as fatigue, only to discover later through an EKG or MRI that the patient had suffered from a heart attack months ago without knowing it.
Those who suffer from a silent heart attack may have subtle and non-specific symptoms like a case of the flu or indigestion, or they may think that they have strained a muscle in their upper back or arms. There are some who experienced excessive and prolonged fatigue that cannot be explained. These symptoms are typically those that people ignore or attribute to something else.
Silent heart attack symptoms are brief and subtle. Be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Discomfort in the upper body areas like the back, one or both arms, the neck, the stomach, or jaw.
- Discomfort in the chest area that is intermittent and lasts for several minutes. The sensation can feel like an uncomfortable squeezing, pressure, or pain.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat and feeling lightheaded or nauseous.
- Shortness of breath before or during chest discomfort.
What you should do
If you experience one or more of the symptoms enumerated above, stay calm, call 911, or have a family member or friend bring you to your nearest emergency facility. Once you get to the hospital, make it clear that you think you are having a heart attack.
How to prevent a silent heart attack
- Know your risk factors. They include diabetes, age, family history of heart disease, excess weight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, a prior heart attack, tobacco use, and lack of exercise.
- Be aware of your blood pressure.
- Avoid smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get adequate sleep
Being aware of silent heart attack symptoms is important, but it does nothing to ignore them. It’s better to be cautious. Your chances of survival are higher if you get proper medical treatment.
“Silent But Deadly: Half of All Heart Attacks Have No Symptoms,” LiveScience, https://www.livescience.com/54760-half-heart-attacks-silent-no-symptoms.html#
“Silent Ischemia,” Texas Heart Institute, https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/silent-ischemia/
“The danger of “silent” heart attacks,” Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-danger-of-silent-heart-attacks
“Silent heart attack: What are the risks?” Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/expert-answers/silent-heart-attack/faq-20057777