Did you know a person can have a heart attack and not even know it? In 2016, the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, reported that 45% of all heart attacks are what doctors call “silent”.
Meaning they don’t cause the classic symptoms, such as pressure or pain in the chest or left arm.
Just like a heart attack that causes sharp chest pain, a silent heart attack can occur when the arteries that carry blood to the heart become blocked.
This deprives the heart muscle of nutrient-rich oxygen and can cause severe damage.
In today’s video, we look at the top 10 symptoms of a silent heart attack or silent myocardial infarction (SMI), that signal something isn’t right.
Most times, the person having the heart attack doesn’t realize what’s actually going on.
This can then delay seeking medical treatment, and in the worst-case scenario, those precious moments can lead to a tragic outcome.
Continue watching to find out which subtle signs are clues that someone you love might be suffering from a heart attack.
Number 10. Stomach pain and indigestion.
Most commonly reported in women, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal pain are plausible warning signs indicating a heart attack.
This is especially true if these gastrointestinal symptoms are accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, or dizziness.
In one study published in the journal Circulation, researchers interviewed 2,009 women who were hospitalized for a heart attack, and discovered that nearly 61.5 percent of them experienced nausea or stomach pain as a symptom of their event.
If you just had a spicy meal or a junk food feast, your upset stomach and heartburn are probably perfectly normal.
However, when pain in your chest persists, and you aren’t sure it’s heartburn, it’s time to have your doctor run tests.
Even experienced medical professionals can’t always tell a heart attack from heartburn.
Number 9. Lightheadedness or dizziness.
Not drinking enough water, skipping lunch, or standing up too fast are all things that can make you dizzy.
But feeling dizzy or lightheaded, accompanied by chest pain and shortness of breath, may signify that a heart attack could be on its way.
When the heart struggles and cannot deliver oxygen, this adversely affects the brain.
According to the American Heart Association, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting are all heart attack signs that are more likely to occur in women than men.
Number 8. Shortness of breath.
If you feel like you just ran a marathon after going up a flight of stairs, that may be a sign your heart is having difficulty pumping blood to the rest of your body.
Shortness of breath, for no apparent reason, can occur with or without chest pain, and is another overlooked sign of a silent heart attack.
According to The Heart Foundation, this symptom occurs more often in men than women.
Number 7. Nausea and vomiting.
Researchers have provided several theories on the cause of vomiting associated with heart attacks.
According to researchers, this happens when heart cells become damaged from poor blood supply.
As a result, these damaged areas then release lactic acid, pyruvic acid, and other metabolites.
The buildup of these metabolites increases acidity in the blood, which can lead to vomiting.
Number 6. Pain in the throat and jaw.
You may have heard that chest pain that radiates down your arm is a heart attack symptom.
What you might not know is that the pressure, tightness, pain, or squeezing or aching sensation in your chest and arms, can also spread into your neck, jaw, down your mid and lower back, and even your legs.
Pain in your jaw and throat can feel like a bad toothache.
These body parts are often in the line of fire during a heart attack, because the vagus nerve is connected to not only the heart but also the abdomen, chest, neck, and brain.
So, when a blocked artery occurs, it can trigger the nerves in your heart to signal pain in order to warn you that something is wrong.
And the vagus nerve spreads the signal to other areas of the body.
Number 5. Extreme fatigue or weakness.
Feeling worn out after a sleepless night or a stressful day is normal. But if you’re sitting in bed, watching TV, and suddenly are no longer able to even hold your head up, this could mean trouble.
This is not an unusual situation. In one study, researchers found that over 45 percent of women who had a heart attack said they felt weak or tired right before they went to the hospital.
In 2003, the American Heart Association surveyed over 500 women who survived heart attacks and published the results in the journal Circulation.
Seventy-one percent of women reported feeling tired for no logical reason in the weeks before their heart attack.
In the same survey, 48 percent of women said they experienced sleep disturbance up to a month before the event.
Only 31 percent of women experienced chest pain at the onset of their heart attack.
And 43 percent reported no chest pain at all during their heart attack.
Number 4. Irregular heartbeat.
Abnormal heartbeats, also known as arrhythmia, are a common heart disease symptom in both men and women, although it has other causes as well.
You may notice that your heart is beating faster or irregularly, and in most cases, you will also experience dizziness.
When your heart’s rhythm is disrupted, it isn’t pumping oxygenated blood properly, and this can lead to a heart attack.
If you have coronary artery disease, you may be at risk for a dangerous arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation. This is a rapid, quivering heartbeat that can lead to heart palpitations, blood clots, heart attack and stroke.
Seek medical attention right away, if an irregular heartbeat is associated with other symptoms.
Number 3. Unexplained sweating.
Sweating excessively can happen minutes before a heart attack.
And unlike regular sweat that happens after a workout or in warm weather, this symptom is often described as cold sweats.
This condition is called diaphoresis and affects your entire body rather than a part of your body.
A 2005 study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that perspiration, in combination with feeling discomfort in your chest, arm, neck, or jaw, could be a reliable predictor of a heart attack.
Number 2. A general feeling of unease.
You may not be feeling quite right, but cannot put your finger on exactly why.
A general state of discomfort, and an overall feeling of unease, could indicate a silent heart attack is on the way.
It’s a good idea to get your heart checked out, even if you don’t think you’re exhibiting common signs of a heart attack.
Number 1. Pain in the chest.
Some people do not experience any chest pain, while in others, the symptoms may not always be sudden or severe.
Chest pain or discomfort can last for several seconds or minutes and is just as common in men as it is in women.
In those with serious chest pain, some feel intense pressure or a sense of fullness. Others feel tingling or sharp stabbing pain.
There you have it! The top 10 subtle signs of a heart attack that are easy to miss. Being aware of these symptoms could save your life—or someone else’s.
One thing you can do to prepare is to have medically prescribed aspirin or nitroglycerin in your home.
Although a heart attack is life-threatening, these medications can help stabilize the condition while waiting for help to arrive.
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As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
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And now, over to you: Have you ever experienced a heart attack? Which of these symptoms did you experience?
Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Click the link in the description, to discover how you can erase artery plaque, and lower blood pressure.