What Is a Silent Heart Attack?
Both silent and traditional heart attacks occur when the heart does not get a sufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood. The reason that might happen is usually ischemic heart disease, which is a condition where a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. The plaque creates the blockage, which prevents the blood from reaching the heart muscle. Blood flow must be restored quickly, otherwise, that section of the heart begins to die.
Although the symptoms of a silent heart attack are not severe and can often go unnoticed, it is just as serious as a traditional heart attack!
Related Article: Recognize a Heart Attack Before it Happens!
What Are the Symptoms?
The sensations you want to look out for include varying degrees of fatigue, heartburn, shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest, back, or jaw. The symptoms are similar to those of a traditional heart attack, but lack the extreme pressure on the chest, stabbing pain in the arm, neck and/or jaw, sweating, and dizziness. They can be so mild and brief that they are often confused with ordinary irritations, like indigestion, heartburn or even just the result of a challenging workout.
The risk factors for both kinds of heart attacks are pretty much the same – a family history of heart attacks, older age, smoking, insufficient exercise, obesity, and conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. It is also worth noting that the study has concluded that both classic and silent heart attacks are more common in men than women. Despite that, women have higher mortality rates due to this medical condition.
So How Can You Recognize a Silent Heart Attack?
The lasting effect of a silent heart attack will show up on an electrocardiogram (EKG) – which will reveal the damage caused to the heart.
If you have a suspicion concerning an SMI, it is best to consult your doctor about undergoing such a screening. Do not brush those symptoms aside. Many people who experience a silent heart attack don’t seek immediate care because of a lack of awareness, which combined with the scarring damage SMI causes the heart, increases the risk of a second, potentially more harmful heart attack.
A Silent heart attack is a way the body uses to signal you there is an underlying medical condition that needs your attention, so don't ignore your body's call for help and seek diagnosis and treatment.