What Are The Symptoms Of A Silent Heart Attack
People who have a silent heart attack have symptoms not normally associated with a heart attack, mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. They may not realize theyve had a heart attack.
With a silent heart attack, symptoms can make you feel like:
- You have the flu.
- Feeling stressed.
- Using tobacco.
Some things put you at a higher risk of a heart attack, but you cant change them. These include:
- Having a history of heart disease in your family.
- Having preeclampsia during pregnancy.
- Being Native American, Mexican American, Black or native Hawaiian.
- Being older than 45 .
- Being postmenopausal or older than 55 .
- Being infected with COVID-19.
What Can I Expect If I Have A Silent Heart Attack
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.
What Is A Heart Attack
Heart diseases are among the top causes of female deaths in the US.
But exactly what is a heart attack?
You already know we have a network of arteries and veins spread throughout the body. Arteries take blood from the heart to the organs and muscles while veins bring the blood back to the heart.
Similarly, your heart also has a mesh of arteries. The blood pumps through these vessels, keeping your heart alive and working.
But sometimes, the heart arteries become blocked and unable to allow proper blood flow. This may happen because of fat deposits, plaque development, or a blood clot in the blood vessels.
Naturally, the blood circulation within the heart muscles stops, killing the tissue. This leads to a heart attack or myocardial infarction .
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Symptoms Of Silent Heart Attacks
The symptoms of a silent heart attack are not as severe as those for a regular heart attack. They can often be mistaken for other conditions. Some people feel no symptoms at all. Pay attention when you feel any of the following:
- Discomfort You may still feel pain, but it wont be the unmistakable chest pain of a regular heart attack. You may feel discomfort in the upper abdomen, in your back, or in your jaw. It could feel like youve strained a muscle.
- Shortness of breath If you are feeling short of breath or having trouble breathing doing small activities, it could be a sign of a heart attack.
- Heartburn Mild pain in the throat or chest can be mistaken for gastric reflux, indigestion, or heartburn.
- Fatigue Physical discomfort or feeling very tired can be signs of many things. When they happen with a silent heart attack, they are often mistaken for other things. These could include poor sleep or age-related aches and pains.
- Feeling lightheaded If you break out in a cold sweat, feel nauseated, or feel lightheaded, you could be having a silent heart attack.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, call your doctor right away, go to the emergency room, or call 911.
/6if You Have These Symptoms What You Should Do Immediately
In light of any one or more symptoms of heart attack, contact your nearest hospital asking for immediate medical attention.
In case a person suffers from a heart attack and finds it difficult to breathe, begin a cardiopulmonary resuscitation to maintain or restore the blood flow in the body. According to the experts at MayoClinic, CPR involves chest compressions .
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Life After A Heart Attack
A heart attack is often a devastating event that severely disrupts your life. Still, many people find ways to live a full, enjoyable life after having one.
Some people experience their heart attack as a wake-up call that they need to make certain lifestyle changes.
Eating habits may need to be changed after a heart attack, along with lifestyle factors like stress and physical activity.
Recovering from a heart attack can be physically and emotionally taxing, with some people experiencing depression stemming from their limitations.
Its important to reach out for any help you need to deal with recovery-related challenges.
Why Silent Heart Attacks Are Dangerous
Heart attacks both silent or traditional occur when insufficient blood flows to the heart. And, a silent heart attack is just as dangerous as a traditional one. It increases your likelihood of another heart attack, as well as the potential for heart failure.
“It’s critical to open up a blocked heart artery as soon as it’s blocked so we’re not in a situation where there’s decreased blood flow and ultimately scar tissue that would impair somebody’s ability to have normal heart function,” Weinberg says.
While the Circulation study found that silent heart attacks were more common in men than women, it also found that women were more likely to die as a result of one. This may be due to women and their doctors not necessarily taking symptoms seriously enough, according to the American Heart Association.
Also, researchers have found that silent heart attacks are more common in older adults with diabetes. For example, in a study published in 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 14% of the 337 participants with diabetes experienced a silent heart attack compared to 9% of the same population that had a traditional heart attack.
And with a traditional heart attack, doctors can recommend treatments that include surgery, medications, and lifestyle adjustments. That’s why silent heart attacks are so worrisome: If you don’t know you had a heart attack, you won’t take advantage of treatment and prevention tactics.
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The Most Common Signs Of A Heart Attack For Both Men And Women Include:
- Chest pain or discomfort – Most heart attacks cause pain or discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. This feeling can be mild or severe. The discomfort typically lasts longer than a few minutes and can go away and return. It may feel like pressure, fullness, pain, or squeezing in the chest.
- Upper body discomfort – Heart attacks may cause pain or discomfort in one or both arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.
- Shortness of breath – Shortness of breath may be the only symptom of a heart attack or may occur before or with chest pain. It can occur while resting or doing physical activity.
/6pain That Spreads To Other Parts Of The Body Including Arm And Jaw
Warning signs of a heart attack are not just limited to certain parts of the body rather can spread and radiate throughout the body.
A classic heart attack sign is pain that spreads to the arm, especially in the left side of the body. It usually starts from the chest and moves outward towards the arm and the jaw. Other pain areas include neck, back and the stomach.
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Symptoms Vary Between Men And Women
As with men, womens most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Heart Attack In Women Over 50
After menopause, which generally occurs around age 50, your risk of heart attack increases. During this period of life, your levels of the hormone estrogen drop. Estrogen is believed to help protect the health of your heart, which could explain why the average age of first heart attack is roughly 5 years older in women than in men.
There are additional symptoms of a heart attack that women over the age of 50 may experience. These symptoms include:
- severe chest pain
A silent heart attack is like any other heart attack, except it occurs without the usual symptoms. In other words, you may not even realize youve experienced a heart attack.
The American Heart Association estimates that as many as 170,000 Americans experience heart attacks each year without even knowing it. Though less symptomatic than a full heart attack, these events cause heart damage and increase the risk of future attacks.
Silent heart attacks are more common among people with diabetes and in those whove had previous heart attacks.
Symptoms that may indicate a silent heart attack include:
- mild discomfort in your chest, arms, or jaw that goes away after resting
- shortness of breath and tiring easily
- sleep disturbances and increased fatigue
- abdominal pain or heartburn
- skin clamminess
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Chest Pain And Discomfort
You may have chest pain for a number of reasons. However, chest pain and discomfort may be a warning sign for a heart attack.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , most heart attacks cause discomfort in the center or left side of the chest, which can last more than a few minutes or go away and return.
Health institutions describe this feeling as uncomfortable pressure, compression, fullness or pain.
Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection
SCAD is a type of heart attack that happens when the inner lining of a coronary artery tears for no clear reason, slowing or blocking blood flow down the artery.
SCAD can occur in otherwise healthy people who do not have the typical risk factors of heart disease. And according to an article in Clinical Cardiology , about 90% of SCADs happen to women between the age of 30 and 60.
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Symptoms Of A Silent Heart Attack
Few people actually exhibit no symptoms. But signs of a heart attack can be muted or confused with other conditions. Here’s what to look out for:
Shortness of breath
A general feeling of unease or discomfort
Mild pain in the throat or chest
Pain in the back or arms, like a sprained or pulled muscle
Dizziness Or Mild Headache
From high heat to pressure, strain on the eyes, neck or back, many factors can lead to dizziness or mild headaches.
However, dizziness can also be an early warning sign of a heart attack, especially for women.
This symptom may be accompanied by sweating, chest tightness, or shortness of breath, and some may experience dizziness or loss of consciousness. Seek immediate medical attention in this situation.
The pain spreads to other parts of the body, including the hands and jaw.
Warning signs of a heart attack can spread not only to certain parts of the body but throughout the body.
It usually starts from the chest and moves outward towards the arms and jaw. Other painful areas include the neck, back and abdomen.
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Gastrointestinal Problems Including Nausea And Heartburn
Experts believe that gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, indigestion, heartburn and nausea may be early signs of a heart attack.
Abdominal pain can arise in the middle of the upper abdomen and usually feels heavier than a sharp or stabbing. Such pain lasts for more than a few minutes.
Discomfort In The Neck Throat Or Jaw Area
Many people experience unexplained discomfort in the neck, throat, or jaw area. Tightness in the throat can also be felt sometimes. If you havent felt anything like this before, it could be a sign of a heart attack. Visit a doctor without wasting time to handle the problem before much damage is done. These kinds of subtle changes are often noticed in people who have diabetes. It is important that these signs are not ignored because diabetic patients often have problems feeling sensations. They might also not be able to feel severe symptoms of a heart attack.
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Types Of Heart Attacks
The scientific term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction or MI for short. There are different kinds of heart attacks, and the severity, diagnosis and treatment for each may be different.
What all heart attacks have in common is that something is preventing oxygen-containing, nutrient-rich blood from getting to the heart muscle. The amount of damage to the heart will depend on the type of heart attack, the severity of blockage and the time it took to get treated.
Heres what you need to know about the types of heart attacks:
Aarp: 8 Warning Signs Of A ‘silent’ Heart Attack That Are Easy To Overlook
AARP.org recently interviewedEduardo Marbán, MD, PhD,executive director of theSmidt Heart Instituteand the Mark Siegel Family Foundation Distinguished Professor at Cedars-Sinai,about silent heart attacks and their subtle symptoms, which often are more dangerous than they appear.
Just like a heart attack that causes sharp chest pain, a silent heart attack occurs when the arteries that carry blood to the heart become blocked. This deprives the heart muscle of nutrient-rich oxygen and can cause severe damage.
“It’s not necessarily that there were no symptoms it may just be that the patient didn’t recognize them as heart symptoms and wasn’t concerned,” Marbán told AARP.org.
Experts estimate that silent heart attacks account for anywhere between 20% and 50% of all heart attacks.The subtle symptoms may include:
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself Long
After a heart attack, you may need to make some changes in your life, such as:
- Eating a diet thats good for your heart.
- Being active.
- Quitting tobacco use.
- Staying at a healthy weight.
You should also follow your providers instructions and keep taking medicines they ordered for you. And its important to have regular checkups with your healthcare provider. In some cases, your provider may want to do another electrocardiogram.
During Your Recovery Process It Is Important To:
- Take all medication as prescribed by your provider.
- Follow a heart-healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and low stress.
- Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
Lifespan, Rhode Island’s first health system, was founded in 1994 by Rhode Island Hospital and the Miriam Hospital. A comprehensive, integrated, academic health system with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Lifespan’s present partners also include Rhode Island Hospital’s pediatric division, Hasbro Children’s Hospital Bradley Hospital Newport Hospital Gateway Healthcare Lifespan Physician Group and Coastal Medical.
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Early Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
A lot of heart damage happens in the first 2 hours following a heart attack, which means that paying attention to any early symptoms is critical. The sooner you receive help for a heart attack, the better.
According to the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, early heart attack symptoms may occur in 50 percent of all people who have heart attacks.
Early symptoms of heart attack can include the following:
- mild pain or discomfort in your chest that may come and go, which is also called stuttering chest pain
- shoulder pain
nearly twice the rate that women do. Men also have heart attacks earlier in life compared to women. If you have a family history of heart disease or a history of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, or other risk factors, your chances of having a heart attack are even higher.
Symptoms of a heart attack in men include:
- standard chest pain/pressure that feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest, with a squeezing sensation, heaviness, or pressure in the chest that may come and go or remain constant and intense
- upper body pain or discomfort, including arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- rapid or irregular heartbeat
- stomach discomfort that feels like indigestion
- shortness of breath, which may leave you feeling like you cant get enough air, even when youre resting
- dizziness or feeling like youre going to pass out
- breaking out in a cold sweat
Causes Of A Heart Attack
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of heart attacks.
CHD is a condition in which the major blood vessels that supply the heart get clogged with deposits of cholesterol, known as plaques.
Before a heart attack, 1 of the plaques bursts , causing a blood clot to develop at the site of the rupture.
The clot may block the supply of blood to the heart, triggering a heart attack.
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As Many As Half Of All Heart Attacks Go Unrecognized And Their Long
Most people don’t realize that they could have a heart attack without even knowing it. Although these are commonly referred to as “silent” heart attacks, a more accurate term may be “unrecognized” heart attack, says cardiologist Dr. David Morrow, director of the cardiac intensive care unit at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“Some people do have symptoms, so in that sense, their heart attack is not silent. They just don’t recognize the sensations as coming from their heart,” he explains. They may think it’s just indigestion or muscle pain, when the real cause is actually reduced blood flow to the heart. People may also experience other atypical symptoms, such as nausea or excessive sweating during a heart attack .
People with diabetes are more likely to have minimal or atypical symptoms. That’s especially worrisome because they already face a higher-than-average risk of heart attack in the first place.
Heart attack symptoms
Although the most common sign of a heart attack in both men and women is the classic one discomfort in the center of the chest that spreads through the upper body this symptom doesn’t always occur. Some people experience non-classic symptoms, and these might be slightly more frequent in women and in older people.