As its name suggests, a silent heart attack may initially go unnoticed because the symptoms are not as intense and obvious as those of a typical heart attack.
Tasha Benjamin, a resident of East Syracuse, New York State, recently spoke with CNYCentral about the silent heart attack she suffered in 2014. Although many people believe that all heart attacks will be accompanied by chest pain, she explained that this was not always the case.
"You can not necessarily feel an elephant sitting on your chest, which is sometimes linked to a heart attack.It may be just that you feel nauseated and dizzy and that you can say oh, that's it. is something that I have eaten or that I could be tired, "Benjamin told me.
Symptoms may include shortness of breath and discomfort in parts of the body other than the chest, including the back, neck, one or both arms, jaw or stomach. People may also experience symptoms related to stomach ailments such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and so on.
Although signs like fatigue and sweating are very common, this can be a warning sign when it is unexplained or excessive. "During my 25 years of practice, people on the brink of a heart attack said they felt tired and unable to do their usual activities," said Dr. Stacey E. Rosen, a cardiologist. Reader & # 39; s Digest.
In the United States, it is estimated that 45% of heart attacks are "silent", according to research published in the Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association in 2016.
Factors such as age and sex should be considered. Silent symptoms are more likely to affect older adults, especially those over 75 years old. And women are "more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain." Mayo Clinic.
Women also have a higher risk of contracting small vessel disease, which is a concern because silent heart attacks occur in small blood vessels. This is one of the reasons why women are encouraged to avoid ignoring unusual changes in their body and their general health, even if they do not seem threatening.
What makes silent heart attacks dangerous and even deadly, is that the patient does not receive the required treatment in time if it goes completely unnoticed. Sometimes, patients only discover their silent attack when they undergo an electrocardiogram, as was the case with Benjamin.
Dr. Elsayed Z. Soliman, Director of the Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, North Carolina, said that once a silent heart attack had been detected, she should be treated with as many of her patients as possible. Aggressiveness that a traditional heart attack.
"The modifiable risk factors are the same for both types of heart attack," he added. "Physicians need to help patients who have suffered a heart attack quit smoking, reduce their weight, control their cholesterol and blood pressure, and do more exercise."