Swollen Feet Ankles And Legs
During a heart attack, the blood flow slows down and begins to back up in the veins in your legs due to gravity. Therefore, swollen feet, ankles, and even legs can be a sure sign of a heart attack, especially if you dont normally have that issue. If it is uncommon that your feet and ankles are swollen, we suggest getting them checked out as that can be a sign of several other dangerous conditions.
You Feel Dizzy Or Lightheaded
A lot of things can make you lose your balance or feel faint for a moment. Maybe you didnât have enough to eat or drink, or you stood up too fast.
But if you suddenly feel unsteady and you also have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, call a doctor right away.
“It could mean your blood pressure has dropped because your heart isn’t able to pump the way it should,” Bufalino says.
What Causes A Silent Heart Attack
The causes of a silent heart attack are the same as those of a typical heart attack. Diabetics, in particular, are frequently affected by silent heart attacks due to the presence of neuropathy. When the blood sugar level is uncontrolled over time, the blood vessels and nerves are damaged, causing many diabetics to have a decreased or absent perception of symptoms this is known as diabetic neuropathy. To learn more about diabetes and its various side effects, read our specialty article entitled Diabetes Mellitus.
A main cause is calcification of the arteries . When arteriosclerosis is present, less blood can flow throughout the body via the blood vessels. Under strong physical or emotional stress, not enough oxygen and nutrients reach the organs, including the heart. This can lead to a heart attack , in which the heart muscle dies.
To learn about how arteriosclerosis develops and its risk factors, read our article entitled High Blood Pressure.
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Can Silent Heart Attacks Be Prevented Or Avoided
A healthy lifestyle can help prevent any kind of heart attack. This includes:
- Quitting smoking if you smoke and avoiding secondhand smoke.
- Keeping a healthy diet that is low in fat and low in cholesterol.
- Exercising regularly.
- Managing your blood sugar level if you have diabetes.
- Seeing your doctor regularly for check-ups.
Just Like The Name Implies A Silent Heart Attack Is A Heart Attack That Has Either:
- no symptoms,
- minimal symptoms or
- unrecognized symptoms, says Deborah Ekery, M.D., a clinical cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin and with Austin Heart in Austin, TX.
But it is like any other heart attack where blood flow to a section of the heart is temporarily blocked and can cause scarring and damage to the heart muscle.
Ekery regularly sees patients who come in complaining of fatigue and problems related to heart disease, and discovers, through an MRI or EKG, that the person had actually suffered a heart attack weeks or months ago, without ever realizing it.
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What Is The Link Between Diabetes Heart Disease And Stroke
High blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this damage can lead to heart disease.1
People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease at a younger age than people without diabetes. Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease or stroke as adults without diabetes.2,3
The good news is that the steps you take to manage your diabetes also help lower your chances of having heart disease or stroke.
Shortness Of Breath Nausea And Lightheadedness
Shortness of breath can occur with or without a chest pain during a heart attack. Most people dont realize this can happen before or after a heart attack as wellespecially for women..
Research has found that shortness of breath is the third most reported symptom before a heart attack among women and the top symptom during a heart attack.
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What Do You Do If You Have A Heart Attack
If you have any of the listed symptoms:
- tell someone and ask them to get help right away
The faster you get help, the better your chances of surviving a heart attack. Half of heart attack deaths happen within 2 hours of the first signs.
On average, Canadians wait almost 5 hours before getting medical help. Many people find it hard to believe that they are having a heart attack. They convince themselves that the symptoms are something else and that they will go away.
Not getting help for your symptoms could lead to death. New therapies and drugs can reduce damage and save your life if treatment begins soon enough. Your health care provider will work with you to determine treatment and recovery needs.
If you have suffered a heart attack, having important health information close by can help medical staff treat you. Carry personal health information with you at all times and have it posted by your phone. You may not be able to tell medical staff this information yourself, depending on your condition.
Your list should include:
- telephone and health care number
- medical history
- current medications
- health care provider
- health insurance number for expenses that are not covered under provincial health insurance plans, such as:
- ambulance services
Preventing Heart Attacks By Understanding Cardiovascular Risks
Do you know that heart attacks have “beginnings” that can occur days or weeks before an actual attack? It is important to recognize these beginnings, with the help of an EHAC doctor, to help prevent the actual attack and its potential health consequences. People often mistake the early warning signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain, for heartburn or pulled a muscle. The unfortunate outcome is that many people wait too long before getting help.
At The Hospitals of Providence, we have an EHAC program delivered by a team of cardiologists, nurses and staff who are dedicated to helping men and women recognize the early warning signs of a heart attack. We provide care and treatment options for these signs and help prevent the emergency from happening.
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Risk Factors You Can Control
The major risk factors for a heart attack that you can control include:
Some of these risk factorssuch as obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugartend to occur together. When they do, it’s called metabolic syndrome.
In general, a person who has metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone who doesn’t have metabolic syndrome.
For more information about the risk factors that are part of metabolic syndrome, go to the Health Topics Metabolic Syndrome article.
Chest Pain Or Discomfort
Chest pain or discomfort that does not go away can be a symptom of a heart attack. Chest pain or discomfort from a heart attack involves pain in the center of the chest or toward the left side of the chest. It can last for , or it may come and go.
Chest pain or discomfort can feel like:
- intense or more mild pressure
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Obesity And Belly Fat
Being overweight or having obesity can make it harder to manage your diabetes and raise your risk for many health problems, including heart disease and high blood pressure. If you are overweight, a healthy eating plan with fewer calories and more physical activity often will lower your blood glucose levels and reduce your need for medicines.
Excess belly fat around your waist, even if you are not overweight, can raise your chances of developing heart disease.
You have excess belly fat if your waist measures
- more than 40 inches and you are a man
- more than 35 inches and you are a woman
What Happens During A Heart Attack
When a heart attack happens, blood flow to a part of your heart stops or is far below normal, which causes that part of your heart muscle to die. When a part of your heart cant pump because its dying from lack of blood flow, it can disrupt the pumping sequence for the entire heart. That reduces or even stops blood flow to the rest of your body, which can be deadly if it isnt corrected quickly.
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Quick Action Can Save Your Life: Call 911
If you think you or someone else may be having heart attack symptoms or a heart attack, don’t ignore it or feel embarrassed to call for help. . Acting fast can save your life.
Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room. Take a nitroglycerin pill if your doctor has prescribed this type of treatment.
What Causes Heart Attacks
The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease. This is where fatty deposits, cholesterol and other substances build up in the walls of the coronary arteries that supply oxygen to the heart. Over time, this build-up hardens into plaque that can break off at any time and cause a blood clot which blocks the artery.
In some cases, heart attacks have another cause:
- Coronary artery spasm is an unusual narrowing of blood vessels that can stop blood flow to the heart.
- Spontaneous coronary artery dissection is a sudden tear in the wall of a coronary artery, which can also affect people who have few risk factors for heart disease.
Certain lifestyle factors are shown to increase your chances of heart disease and having a heart attack.
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What Are The Early Signs Of A Heart Attack
There are heart attack symptoms in women that are different from heart attack symptoms in men. But the common signs and symptoms they usually share are as follows:
- Chest pain or discomfort: The discomfort usually lasts for more than a few minutes or it may go away and come back. The discomfort may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain at the center of the chest.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: This may include pain or discomfort in the back, jaw, stomach or in one or both arms.
- Shortness of breath: This may occur with, before or without chest pain or discomfort.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Nausea or light-headedness
Meanwhile, heart attack symptoms in women sometimes go unnoticed. These include the following:
- Back pain
- Pressure, fullness, squeezing pain in the center of the chest, spreading to the neck, shoulder or jaw
- Unusual fatigue
- Treating or managing conditions that can be a risk factors of heart attack such as diabetes
People Who Have These So
- indigestion or
- a case of the flu, or
- they may think that they strained a muscle in their chest or their upper back.
- It also may not be discomfort in the chest, it may be in the jaw or the upper back or arms, she says.
Some folks have prolonged and excessive fatigue that is unexplained. Those are some of the less specific symptoms for a heart attack, but ones that people may ignore or attribute to something else.
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The Effect Of Anxiety On The Heart
When someone is anxious, their body reacts in ways that can put an extra strain on their heart. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be especially damaging among individuals with existing cardiac disease.
Anxiety may have an association with the following heart disorders and cardiac risk factors:
- Rapid heart rate In serious cases, can interfere with normal heart function and increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
- Increased blood pressure If chronic, can lead to coronary disease, weakening of the heart muscle, and heart failure.
- May result in higher incidence of death after an acute heart attack.
What Are Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. They include:
- coronary heart disease a disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle
- cerebrovascular disease a disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain
- peripheral arterial disease a disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs
- rheumatic heart disease damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria
- congenital heart disease birth defects that affect the normal development and functioning of the heart caused by malformations of the heart structure from birth and
- deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.
Heart attacks and strokes are usually acute events and are mainly caused by a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain. The most common reason for this is a build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart or brain. Strokes can be caused by bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain or from blood clots.
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Risk Of A Repeat Heart Attack
Once you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at higher risk for another one. Knowing the difference between angina and a heart attack is important. Angina is chest pain that occurs in people who have ischemic heart disease.
The pain from angina usually occurs after physical exertion and goes away in a few minutes when you rest or take medicine as directed.
The pain from a heart attack usually is more severe than the pain from angina. Heart attack pain doesn’t go away when you rest or take medicine.
If you don’t know whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack, call 911.
The symptoms of a second heart attack may not be the same as those of a first heart attack. Don’t take a chance if you’re in doubt. Always call 911 right away if you or someone else has heart attack symptoms.
Unfortunately, most heart attack victims wait 2 hours or more after their symptoms start before they seek medical help. This delay can result in lasting heart damage or death.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Heart Attack And Stroke
- pain or pressure in your chest that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
- pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms or shoulders, or your back, neck, or jaw
- shortness of breath
- indigestion or nausea
- feeling very tired
Treatment works best when it is given right away. Warning signs can be different in different people. You may not have all the listed symptoms.
Women may experience chest pain, nausea, and vomiting feel very tired and have pain that spreads to the back, neck, throat, arms, shoulders, or jaw. People with diabetes-related nerve damage may not notice any chest pain.
If you have angina, its important to know how and when to seek medical treatment.
- weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one side of your body
- confusion, or trouble talking or understanding
- dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
- trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- sudden, severe headache
If you have any one of these warning signs, call 9-1-1. You can help prevent permanent damage by getting to a hospital within an hour of a stroke.
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What Causes A Heart Attack
The vast majority of heart attacks occur because of a blockage in one of the blood vessels that supply your heart. This most often happens because of plaque, a sticky substance that can build up on the insides of your arteries . That buildup is called atherosclerosis.
Sometimes, plaque deposits inside the coronary arteries can break open or rupture, and a blood clot can get stuck where the rupture happened. If the clot blocks the artery, this can deprive the heart muscle of blood and cause a heart attack.
Heart attacks are possible without a blockage, but this is rare and only accounts for about 5% of all heart attacks. This kind of heart attack can occur for the following reasons:
- Spasm of the artery: Your blood vessels have a muscle lining that allows them to become wider or narrower as needed. Those muscles can sometimes twitch or spasm, cutting off blood flow to heart muscle.
- Rare medical conditions: An example of this would be any disease that causes unusual narrowing of blood vessels.
- Trauma: This includes tears or ruptures in the coronary arteries.
- Obstruction that came from elsewhere in the body: A blood clot or air bubble that gets trapped in a coronary artery.
- Electrolyte imbalances: Having too much or too little of key minerals like potassium in your blood can cause a heart attack.
- Eating disorders: Over time, an eating disorder can cause damage to your heart and ultimately result in a heart attack.
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 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.
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