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What is a silent heart attack? Know its warning signs

What is silent heart attack?

Heart attacks that have few, if any, symptoms or symptoms that are misdiagnosed as heart attacks are known as silent heart attacks. The normal symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest discomfort and shortness of breath, may not be present in a silent heart attack.Silent heart attack sufferers may mistakenly believe they have heartburn, the flu, or a strained chest muscle. But just like a regular heart attack, a silent heart attack causes a restriction in the blood supply to the heart and may even harm the heart muscle.

Also known as a silent myocardial infarction or SMI, a person getting a silent heart attack won't be affected severely by the symptoms of a heart attack such as tightness or pressure in the chest, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, heart palpitations. The symptoms are mild in nature and are often ignored for some minor discomfort. This can prove to be deadly since a silent heart attack increases the risk of having another heart attack which can then cause heart failure.

Warning signs of silent heart attack

Since a silent heart attack usually shows mild symptoms of a heart attack, it is advised to consult a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • A squeezing sensation, pain, or tightness in the chest that can come in waves and can last for a few minutes
  • A paining sensation in the arms, chest, neck, shoulders, or jaw
  • Cold sweat and nausea

Are silent heart attacks common?

According to a 2016 article by Reuters, although silent heart attacks and traditional heart attacks are more common among men, women having silent heart attacks were 58 per cent more likely to die as compared to women who did not experience a heart attack. On the other hand, men had a 23 per cent mortality rate as compared to men who didn't have heart attacks.According to Dr. Laxmi Mehta, director of the women’s cardiovascular health program at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, ''underuse of guideline-derived medical therapies and lower referral rates to cardiac rehab'' might be responsible for higher death rates in women, stated the article.

Owing to recent incidents where people, especially young adults are succumbing due to heart attacks and cardiac arrests despite being in a fit state, it is important to make note of the warning signs and choose not to ignore them at any cost if they happen to experience one at any time of the day.

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