Silent heart attacks are more common than we think, and they can occur without the victim realizing it.
A heart attack is when one of the heart arteries becomes blocked to the point where blood flow is weakened. The heart muscle becomes deprived of oxygen and nutrients, gets damaged and eventually dies as a result. During a heart attack, patients usually experience severe crushing chest pain or heaviness often described as an elephant sitting on your chest. This is usually accompanied by cold sweats and nausea.
A silent heart attack happens when a patient does not experience these full-blown symptoms. They may feel nothing at all, but more often than not, they have subtle symptoms that might be mistaken for a less critical condition.
The reason for a silent heart attack is the same as that of a normal heart attack. Over the years, the heart arteries narrow from deposits of cholesterol and plaque. These deposits can suddenly rupture, bleed and block off the artery, which leads to heart muscle damage.
Silent heart attacks are definitely more common than we think.
Recent studies show that almost half of all heart attacks were silent. People were just unaware of their critical situation. As a result of not seeking treatment, they had a higher risk of dying.
Thus, you must be vigilant if you have any risk factors for heart attack – particularly if you have diabetes. Diabetics are more prone to having a silent heart attack as the poor circulation and high sugar in their blood damages their nerve cells such that they do not experience pain the same way as someone with no diabetes. They could step on a nail and not feel it.
The signs of a silent heart attack are subtle. Patients may feel a discomfort in the back, arms, jaw or chest. They may experience dizziness or fainting spells. They may feel overly exhausted and breathless after a few steps when a week ago they could run up a flight of stairs. They may have what they think is a heartburn sensation or an upset tummy. These are all subtle symptoms that may be a sign of a heart attack.
I have had a number of patients who have had a silent heart attack. One patient described what he felt as a severe gastric and heartburn sensation lasting over 2 days. This was accompanied by an overwhelming sense of fatigue.
A heart attack is a serious situation and can potentially lead to death. If you experience any of the subtle symptoms mentioned above, see your doctor for an assessment.Leave a reply