Risk Factors For A Silent Heart Attack In Women
Still, Ekery says, the risk factors for a silent heart attack are the same as those for a recognized heart attack, and:
A silent heart attack can be just as dangerous as its more obvious counterpart, says Ekery. Because the event often leaves scarring and damage to the heart, it puts the person at greater risk of other heart problems. And because the person didnt know to seek treatment, blood flow to the heart might not have been restored early on, and no medications were administered, so the impact could potentially be greater.
You May Like: How Much Blood Does An Adult Heart Pump Every Day
Systolic Pressure And Pulse Pressure Are The Main Risk Factors
In 2036 subjects aged 5079 years in the Framingham heart study, only systolic pressure was independently associated with the development of coronary heart disease over the subsequent 20 years. In patients with systolic pressures of 120 mm Hg the coronary heart disease risk actually increased as diastolic pressures decreased, suggesting that a wider pulse pressure was an important component of coronary risk. A recent report from the Framingham investigators added to this cohort another 4506 subjects from the Framingham offspring study, so that the baseline ages of the combined cohort ranged from 20 to 79 years. Over 17 years, 12% of subjects developed coronary heart disease. In subjects whose baseline age was < 50 years, diastolic pressure was the strongest predictor of the subsequent development of fatal or non-fatal coronary disease, including myocardial infarction and angina pectoris. Between the ages of 50 and 59 years there was a transition period when all three blood pressure measures were comparable predictors of coronary risk. From the age of 60 years, diastolic pressure was inversely related to coronary risk so that the pulse pressure became superior to systolic pressure as a predictor.
Also Check: Does Acid Reflux Cause Heart Palpitations
When Chest Pains Are Serious
Unlike an achy knee or crabby lower back, chest pain isnt something to shrug off until tomorrow. It also isnt something to diagnose at home. Dont play doctor go see one, fast, if you are worried about pain or discomfort in your chest, upper back, left arm, or jaw or suddenly faint or develop a cold sweat, nausea, or vomiting. Call 911 or your local emergency number to summon an emergency medical crew. It will whisk you to the hospital in a vehicle full of equipment that can start the diagnosis and keep you stable if your heart really is in trouble.
There are oh-so-many reasons to delay calling for help.
- Im too young .
- Im in great shape .
- I have a family to take care of .
- I dont want to bother anyone .
Also Check: Why Is My Heart Rate Variability So Low
About Half Of All Heart Attacks Are Mistaken For Less Serious Problems And Can Increase Your Risk Of Dying From Coronary Artery Disease
You can have a heart attack and not even know it. A silent heart attack, known as a silent myocardial infarction , account for 45% of heart attacks and strike men more than women.
They are described as silent because when they occur, their symptoms lack the intensity of a classic heart attack, such as extreme and pressure stabbing pain in the arm, neck, or jaw sudden shortness of breath sweating, and dizziness.
SMI symptoms can feel so mild, and be so brief, they often get confused for regular discomfort or another less serious problem, and thus men ignore them, says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the vascular disease prevention program at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Womens Hospital.
For instance, men may feel fatigue or physical discomfort and chalk it up to overwork, poor sleep, or some general age-related ache or pain. Other typical symptoms like mild pain in the throat or chest can be confused with gastric reflux, indigestion, and .
Also, the location of pain is sometimes misunderstood. With SMI, you may feel discomfort in the center of the chest and not a sharp pain on the left side of the chest, which many people associate with a heart attack. People can even feel completely normal during an SMI and afterward, too, which further adds to the chance of missing the warning signs, says Dr. Plutzky.
An Understanding Of The Basics
So, there are a couple of ways of determining your oxygen level. Your doctor may choose to do the more invasive ABG test. This will get an accurate PaO2 level for one point in time which can be very helpful.
However, the most common and easiest oxygen level to get is your SpO2. This can be checked at every doctor visit. A neat thing about pulse oximeters is they are easily portable. So, now we have devices that allow us to monitor your SpO2 while you are walking, and even while you are sleeping.
Now you understand the basic oxygen levels. You now know what oxygen levels are safe, or at least what oxygen level goals we are seeking.
Read Also: What Are Signs Of A Heart Attack In A Man
Atrial Fibrillation Wont Cause Heart Attack But Can Lead To Other Serious Complications
I suffer from atrial fibrillation. Are my chances of getting a heart attack higher?
Your risk of a heart attack is not increased due to atrial fibrillation, a rapid and irregular heartbeat that can cause symptoms requiring medical attention. The condition does not cause a heart attack. However, atrial fibrillation can lead to other serious complications, so it needs to be treated promptly and monitored closely.
During atrial fibrillation, the hearts two upper chambers beat chaotically and irregularly, out of coordination with the two lower chambers . Because of the uncoordinated heartbeat it produces, atrial fibrillation causes your heart to pump less effectively than normal. The result is that the heart sends less blood out to your body with each beat. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including decreased blood pressure, light-headedness, weakness and shortness of breath.
Occasionally, the rapid heart rate associated with atrial fibrillation can result in chest pain or discomfort because of reduced blood flow to the heart muscle. People who have pre-existing heart disease are particularly susceptible to this symptom of atrial fibrillation. Angina can be hard to distinguish from other types of chest pain, so if you experience chest pain, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
Talk to your doctor about the risks associated with atrial fibrillation and what you can do to reduce those risks.
Blood Pressure And Heart Attacks
If high blood pressure is left untreated, it could increase the risk of a heart attack.
High blood pressure can be a measure of how hard the heart is having to work to pump blood around the body via the arteries, which is why doctors monitor it.
A buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances within the arteries is called plaque. Over time, plaque hardens, causing the arteries to narrow. This narrowing means it takes more pressure to push the blood through the network of tubes.
When plaque breaks away from the wall of an artery, a blood clot is formed around the plaque.
Heart attacks can happen because plaque or blood clots cause the blood supply to the heart to be disrupted or blocked.
High blood pressure is not always a severe health problem, however. Even healthy people can experience raised blood pressure from time to time due to exercise or stress.
You May Like: Causes Of Left Sided Heart Failure
Patients Who Present In The Emergency Room With Chest Pain Are Given A Troponin Test
Troponin is a protein enzyme that leaks from the heart when this muscle is damaged.
If the test result is elevated , this can mean that the patient had a heart attack very recently.
However, elevated troponin doesnt always mean cardiac damage.
In fact, the test result isnt either normal or elevated there is another range an in-between range.
Its sometimes referred to as a gray area or indeterminate area, which warrants a follow-up blood draw several hours later to see if the result is of a higher value .
What Can I Expect If I Have Hypertensive Heart Disease
Hypertensive heart disease is a long-term disease that takes years to develop. Over time, people who have it are at a higher and higher risk of dying from a cardiovascular problem. The prognosis for people with hypertensive cardiovascular disease is different from person to person, depending on:
- What symptoms youre having.
- Whether you have cardiovascular disease or risk factors.
- Other medical conditions you have.
You May Like: What Is Congestive Heart Failure
Never Had High Blood Pressure Succeeded In Bringing It Down Youre Not Done
Blood pressure is a health indicator that can vary based on factors including age, diet, stress and even time of day you reading is taken, so it can vary over time. Individuals may also experience high blood pressure even when they are physically fit or meeting other healthy living standards. Blood pressure that is too low also can be a sign of an issue.
Knowing your blood pressure numbers through periodic checks is good practice for every adult and a proactive way to manage your health and reduce risk. This easy and painless reading may be the first sign that its time to talk your physician.
How Is Blood Pressure Determined
Several factors influence blood pressure. Blood volume and blood vessel wall behavior are two important determinants of blood pressure. The more blood pumped with each heartbeat, the higher the blood pressure. The presence of stiff or narrow artery walls that resist blood flow also increases blood pressure. Having lower blood volume and open, flexible arteries decreases blood pressure.
Recommended Reading: Heart Rate Svt
How Are Heart Diseases Diagnosed
If you have high blood pressure or any signs or symptoms of heart disease, there are a number of tests that can be used to see if any damage has been done to the heart.
The tests include:
- to measure cholesterol, proteins, urine and hormones, as well as other signs of disease and damage
- an a type of ultrasound scan which gives a moving image of the heart. It shows the structure of the heart, including the valves, how well its working and signs of damage
- an ECG which measures electrical signals in the heart, using sensors attached to your skin, to show if the heart is working properly
- a treadmill test where your heart is monitored with an ECG to see how it responds to the physical stress of using the treadmill
- a radionuclide scan a type of scan that uses a radioactive chemical which collects in certain parts of the body
- a CT scan which is similar to an X-ray but more detailed and it gives a 3D image
- an MRI scan this gives a very detailed 3D image which is taken in a large tunnel-shaped scanner, these tend to be used in people with more complex symptoms
- a coronary angiography a type of scan where dye is injected into your blood vessels and the dye can be picked up on the scan, showing any blockages.
Also Check: What Is Sed Rate Blood Test
Blood Pressure During A Heart Attack
Blood pressure is the force that pumps blood around the circulatory system.
When blood flow is restricted or blocked completely, the heart muscle is starved of oxygen. This leads to a heart attack.
During a heart attack, blood pressure can go up, down, or remain constant, depending on how the body responds.
What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure .
Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.
The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from health care professional to health care professional:
- Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.
- Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017, as seen in the table below.
|systolic: 130 mm Hg or higherdiastolic: 80 mm Hg or higher|
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, talk with your health care team about your blood pressure levels and how these levels affect your treatment plan.
Symptoms Of Heart Attack In Women
Although traditionally viewed as a male disease, heart attack kills three times more women than cancers of the breast, ovaries and cervix combined.
The female hormone, oestrogen, has beneficial effects on artery elasticity and helps to protect women before the menopause . After the menopause, however, the risk of heart attack increases and women tend to experience heart attack around 10 to 20 years later in life than men.
Women often dont feel the classic heart attack symptoms of tight chest pain or discomfort, radiation of pain to the arm, or shortness of breath. This suggests that angina in women is linked more with arterial spasm rather than with narrowing and furring up of the arteries. Unfortunately, if heart pain is not classical it may be misdiagnosed as musculoskeletal pain rather than angina. Some experts have suggested that any type of chest pain in women could be a sign of heart problems and that this possibility should always be born in mind.
Women are also more prone to a type of heart pain known as Cardiac Syndrome X in which angina-like heart pain occurs on exercise, but investigations show that the coronary arteries are not narrowed or blocked. This syndrome is thought to be due to lack of oestrogen, which affects tiny blood vessels within the heart muscle itself, so they fail to dilate during exercise.
Read Also: Tracking Heart Rate
Why Does Oxygen Matter So Much
Your cells use oxygen to make energy. If they dont get it, they die. Its your bloods job to deliver oxygen throughout your body.
Your brain is at the center of everything you do. Your ability to think, talk, feel, sing, and dance all goes back to your brain, and those brain cells need oxygen, too.
Your brains a real oxygen hog. Its a small part of your body weight, but it uses 20% of your oxygen. It cant store the oxygen, so it needs a steady flow of blood to work well. Brain cells start to die if they go without oxygen for just 3-4 minutes and thats exactly what happens during a stroke.
With each minute that passes, you lose about 2 million brain cells. The longer you go without oxygen, the greater your chance for brain damage that cant be undone. After about 10 minutes, the damage can be severe.
Dont Miss: How Does Blood Move Through The Heart
Is A Change In Blood Pressure A Sign Of A Heart Attack
Blood pressure is not an accurate predictor of a heart attack. Sometimes a heart attack can cause an increase or decrease in blood pressure, but having a change in blood pressure reading doesnt always mean its heart-related. Instead, a better strategy for gauging a heart attack is to look at your overall symptoms. A heart attack may cause multiple symptoms, just a few symptoms, or even no symptoms at all.
Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack. However, its not the only symptom. Possible symptoms of a heart attack include:
- mild to severe squeezing sensations in the chest area
- pain in the arms
- jaw, neck, and upper-back pain
Recommended Reading: Pathophysiology Of Congestive Heart Failure
How To Get Checked Out
Men may not be aware they had an SMI until weeks or even months later when they see their doctor for a regular visit, or because of persistent symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, or heartburn.
SMI is usually detected from an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, which can highlight heart muscle damage. Another method is a blood test for the molecular footprints of troponin T, a protein released by injured heart cells. That test is often used in emergency departments for patients with heart attack symptoms.
Once an SMI is diagnosed, your doctor can identify your main risk factors and help design a treatment strategy, including changing your diet, exercising regularly, and taking a statin as well as other medication to help prevent a second heart attack .
“If you do notice any symptoms of a SMI, do not brush them aside, even if you do not think they are serious,” says Dr. Plutzky. “Playing it safe is always a better move than risking the potential harmful downside.”
You Start Feeling Symptoms
Men and women can experience very different heart attack symptoms. Chest pain is the most common symptom for both, but women tend to be more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and pain that radiates in the back and jaw. But, as far as what happens to the heart during a heart attack? Dr. Ruthmann asks before answering his own question. The heart muscle and heart cells are dying in the same way, whether youre a man or a woman.
Don’t Miss: Heart Attack And Blood Pressure