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How To Tell If You Had A Heart Attack

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About Half Of All Heart Attacks Are Mistaken For Less Serious Problems And Can Increase Your Risk Of Dying From Coronary Artery Disease

How to Know if You’ve Had a Heart Attack | Heart Attack

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 Women’s 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.

Take The Ehac Oath With Us

We encourage you to start taking care of your heart health today. We can kick this commitment off by taking the EHAC oath together.

I understand that heart attacks have beginnings and on occasion, signs of an impending heart attack may include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, shoulder and/or arm pain and weakness. These may occur hours or weeks before the actual heart attack. I solemnly swear that if happens to me or anyone I know I will call 9-1-1 or activate Emergency Medical Services.

How To Recognize The Signs Of A Heart Attack And What To Do

It is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack, which can vary by person. Sometimes a person may have a heart attack without realizing it and not seek the emergency medical care they need. That could lead to lasting heart damage.

The medical name for a heart attack is a myocardial infarction .

A heart attack usually happens because a coronary artery becomes blocked, reducing or stopping the nourishing blood supply to the heart muscle.

Chest pain is the most recognized sign of a heart attack, but the symptoms someone experiences can depend on their gender and age.

It is essential to identify a heart attack as early as possible and seek prompt medical attention. Treatment can minimize damage and increase the chances of a full recovery.

This article looks at the various symptoms of heart attacks, how these may vary in females and older adults, and when to seek medical attention. It also looks at risk factors, treatment, and prevention.

Most people know that chest pain is a typical heart attack symptom. However, a heart attack can affect the entire body, not just the heart.

Individuals of different ages and sexes may experiences heart attack symptoms differently.

Most heart attacks do have several defining symptoms, which according to the , are:

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Chest Pain Pressure Squeezing And Fullness

Picture someone having a heart attack, and chances are you imagine them gasping for air and clutching their chest before falling unconscious. While you may experience chest pain during a heart attack, it may not be as dramatic. In some cases, it may not even be described as pain. Instead, it may feel more like pressure or squeezing in the chest.

Chest pain or chest discomfort is caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood to your heart. During a heart attack, you may feel this pain in the center of the chest. It can last for a few minutes and disappear, or it may recur after a short break.

This symptom is a warning sign of blocked or narrowed arteries. Dont hesitate to report this to your doctor, even if this and other symptoms are not intense.

What Can I Expect If I Have A Silent Heart Attack

4 Ways to Know if You

Everyones experience is a bit different based on how much their heart attack hurt their heart, but most people can get back to doing regular things little by little and have active lives.

Some people can get abnormal heart rhythms or heart failure, which can be serious. People who wait too long to get help for a heart attack run the risk of severe damage to their hearts and may not survive if they dont get help soon enough.

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Utilizing Blood Tests Ecg And Imaging Studies

A heart attack, referred to medically as myocardial infarction, occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart suddenly slows or stops, causing damage to the heart muscle. Roughly 735,000 heart attacks occur in the United States each year. Of these, around 26% of women and 19% of men will die as a result of the event within a year, according to the American Heart Association .

Knowing the signs and obtaining a timely diagnosis can increase your chances of survival and recovery.

Common Heart Attack Types And Treatments

The type of heart attack you experienced determines the treatments that your medical team will recommend. A heart attack occurs when a blockage in one or more coronary arteries reduces or stops blood flow to the heart, which starves part of the heart muscle of oxygen.

The blockage might be complete or partial:

  • A complete blockage of a coronary artery means you suffered a STEMI heart attack or ST-elevation myocardial infarction.
  • A partial blockage is an NSTEMI heart attack or a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction

Treatments differ for a STEMI versus NSTEMI heart attack, although there can be some overlap.

Hospitals commonly use techniques to restore blood flow to part of the heart muscle damaged during a heart attack:

  • You might receive clot-dissolving drugs , balloon angioplasty , surgery or a combination of treatments.
  • About 36 percent of hospitals in the U.S. are equipped to use a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention , a mechanical means of treating heart attack.

At a hospital equipped to administer PCI, you would likely be sent to a department that specializes in cardiac catheterization, sometimes called a cath lab. There, a diagnostic angiogram can examine blood flow to your heart and reveal how well your heart is pumping. Depending on the results of that procedure, you may be routed to one of three treatments: medical therapy only, PCI or coronary artery bypass grafting .

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Heart Attack Symptoms In Women Vs Men

Women are more likely than men to have silent heart attacks and heart attacks without chest pain. Heart attacks are also more likely to start when a woman is at rest or experiencing mental stress.

That means its especially important for women to watch out for symptoms like shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, nausea or vomiting, or pain in the jaw, arms or back.

Also, we now know that young women are particularly prone to a type of heart event called a spontaneous coronary artery dissection , which we talk about in more depth below.

What Is A Heart Attack

Chest Pain: How Do You Know If You’re Having a Heart Attack?

A heart attack happens when a blockage develops in the arteries leading to the heart, which prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the crucial organ. This leads to a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, its most common symptom is chest pain. But signals can be much more subtle.

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Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

Symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • chest pain a sensation of pressure, tightness or squeezing in the centre of your chest
  • pain in other parts of the body it can feel as if the pain is travelling from your chest to your arms , jaw, neck, back and tummy
  • feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • feeling sick or being sick
  • an overwhelming sense of anxiety
  • coughing or wheezing

Although the chest pain is often severe, some people may only experience minor pain, similar to indigestion. In some cases, there may not be any chest pain at all, especially in women, older people, and people who have diabetes.

It’s the overall pattern of symptoms that helps to determine whether you are having a heart attack.

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:

  • obesity
  • age

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.

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Can You Have Had A Heart Attack And Not Know It

Many of us have contemplated the question Can we have a heart attack and not know it? But before getting into that, let us first understand what a heart attack is.A heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction , is coronary thrombosis, which means that the blood supply to a part of heart muscle is compromised, mostly due to plaque formation in coronary artery. Now to answer the above question: Yes, we can have a heart attack and not know about it. These types of heart attacks are generally referred to as Silent Heart Attacks. As the name implies, they are silent in nature and their symptoms are subtle.

Apparently there is no test to determine the probability of a silent heart attack, but risk factors can be identified and treated. Also lifestyle changes with diet and exercise play a significant role in preventing those. Also listen to your body and seek medical attention when in doubt.

Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Disease

4 Ways to Know if You

Heart disease often develops over time. You may have early signs or symptoms long before you have serious heart problems. Or, you may not realize you are developing heart disease. The warning signs of heart disease may not be obvious. Also, not every person has the same symptoms.

Certain symptoms, such as chest pain, ankle swelling, and shortness of breath may be signals that something is wrong. Learning the warning signs can help you get treatment and help prevent a heart attack or stroke.

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Common Heart Attack Treatments

Youll find many common heart attack treatments listed here. For more detailed explanations of these treatments, see our page devoted to cardiac procedures.

  • Angioplasty: Special tubing with an attached deflated balloon is threaded up to the coronary arteries.
  • Angioplasty, Laser: Similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a laser tip that opens the blocked artery.
  • Artificial heart valve surgery: Replaces an abnormal or diseased heart valve with a healthy one.
  • Atherectomy: Similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a rotating shaver on its tip to cut away plaque from the artery.
  • Treats blocked heart arteries by creating new passages for blood to flow to your heart muscle.
  • Cardiomyoplasty: An experimental procedure in which skeletal muscles are taken from a patients back or abdomen.
  • Heart transplant: Removes a diseased heart and replaces it with a donated healthy human heart.
  • Minimally invasive heart surgery: An alternative to standard bypass surgery.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: A catheter with an electrode at its tip is guided through the veins to the heart muscle to destroy carefully selected heart muscle cells in a very small area.
  • Stent procedure: A stent is a wire mesh tube used to prop open an artery during angioplasty.
  • Transmyocardial revascularization : A laser is used to drill a series of holes from the outside of the heart into the hearts pumping chamber.

Clinical Contributors To This Story

Arthur Okere, M.D. contributes to topics such as Interventional Cardiology.

Youve recently had a heart attack and are fearful about having a second one. Your fear is valid. About 1 in 5 people who have had a heart attack will be readmitted to the hospital for a second one within five years, according to the American Heart Association. The organization also says that there are about 335,000 recurrent heart attacks each year in the United States.

But you dont have to become a statistic. You can take steps to avoid a second heart attack, says Arthur Okere, M.D., an interventional cardiology specialist at Bayshore Medical Center and Ocean Medical Center. You have to be proactive, though.

After the initial heart attack, its all about mitigating your risks and changing your habits, he says.

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Signs You’ve Already Had A Heart Attack

A “silent heart attack” might seem to be a contradiction in terms. Surely, such a serious health eventin which a blockage prevents adequate blood from flowing to the heart, still the #1 cause of death in the U.S.can’t happen without you even noticing, right?

Not so. In fact, “Nearly half of people who have a heart attack don’t realize it at the time,” says Harvard Medical School. “These so-called silent heart attacks are only diagnosed after the event, when a recording of the heart’s electrical activity or another test reveals evidence of damage to the heart.” That’s dangerous, because an untreated heart attack can cause irreversible harm to the heart or be fatal.

Last month, a Danish study found that 1 in 4 heart attacks may present with atypical symptoms that can easily be brushed off or confused for other disorders. Here are five of the most common. Read onand to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.

What Is The Link

Angina vs heart attack – know the difference

These two distinct heart conditions are linked. Sudden cardiac arrest can occur after a heart attack, or during recovery. Heart attacks increase the risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Most heart attacks do not lead to sudden cardiac arrest. But when sudden cardiac arrest occurs, heart attack is a common cause. Other heart conditions may also disrupt the hearts rhythm and lead to sudden cardiac arrest. These include a thickened heart muscle , heart failure, arrhythmias, particularly ventricular fibrillation, and long Q-T syndrome.

Fast action can save lives. Find out what to do if someone experiences a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

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What To Do When Youre Having A Heart Attack

  • Chew one adult-strength aspirin to help keep your blood from clotting.
  • Stay on the phone with the emergency operator as you wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital.

If youre not sure its a heart attack, dont ignore your symptoms. Call for help anyway. If you are having a heart attack, the sooner you get to the hospital, the sooner your care team can work to restore blood flow and reduce further heart damage.

How Do I Know If I’m Having A Heart Attack

Your arteries carry blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart and to the rest of the body. A heart attack occurs when an artery of the heart is suddenly closed or blocked by a blood clot.

Although the closure happens suddenly, it often results from plaque that has built up in the arteries over time. This process is called atherosclerosis. It is also known as hardening of the arteries. When the artery closes, the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart drops suddenly and sharply. This lack of oxygen causes damage to the heart.

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Classic Signs Of A Heart Attack

These are the most commonly expected symptoms of heart attack. If you suddenly experience these symptoms, call 911 or get to your nearest emergency room immediately:

  • chest pain, pressure or discomfort that lasts for several minutes or disappears, then returns
  • pain or discomfort that affects either or both arms
  • back, neck or jaw discomfort
  • stomach pain or discomfort
  • feeling fatigued
  • sweating

If you notice any or all of these symptoms, call 911 and seek emergency medical care immediately, even if you arent experiencing chest pain.

Acute Heart Attack Treatment

Know the signs of a heart attack and donât ignore or ...

The important aim of early institution of treatment is to save the heart muscle from damage following lack of blood supply. Blood thinning medications, drugs that improve demand-supply imbalance , drugs that reduce blood cholesterol and drugs that improve the remodeling of the heart after the attack form the mainstay of management of heart attacks.

However, the most important component of the treatment consists of Conventional Thrombolytic Therapy -Using clot dissolving medications like Streptokinase, Urokinase or Recombinant TPA to improve blood flow.

Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention or Primary Angioplasty – An emergency coronary angiogram followed by balloon Angioplasty with stenting thereby improving the blood flow.

Both methods have got their own merits and demerits. Advantages of primary PCI are that the blockage is visualized, opened and stented, ensuring normal blood flow. The chances of recurrent heart attack, recurrent block and death are less when compared to the clot dissolving medications. Disadvantages include inadequate availability of cathlabs with trained professionals who could perform PCI, and the high cost of the procedure.

Thrombolysis with clot dissolving medications is a time-tested method of treatment. The chief advantage is its universal availability at affordable cost. The disadvantages are the lesser degree of blood flow improvement , bleeding complications and allergic reactions.

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