What is Silent Heart Attack?

– So what is a “silent heart attack”?

Actually, the heart attack which does not always have symptoms or has few, if any is called a silent heart attack.

silent heart attact

silent heart attack

You may never suffer from any symptoms like central chest pain, shortness of breath or cold sweats. So here you will not get any warning before the heart attack. Sometimes a silent heart attack can be mistaken for nausea, indigestion or muscular pain.

In short, the heart attack which happens actually without the person knowing it is called “Silent Heart Attack”

In medical terms, it is also called Silent Myocardial Ischemia (SMI).

What are the Causes?

Actually, the symptoms are produced in heart attack are due to damage in heart muscle. It usually happens when there is a build-up of plaque in any or both of the coronary arteries. And this causes ischemia (absence of blood flow) to the heart muscles. As a result scarring and damage to heart muscle occurs. Because the heart cannot perform its functions properly and problems start arising.

Which are the Symptoms of Silent Heart Attack?

Study shows that about 20% of heart attacks go silent until a good time is over after the event.

Symptoms of a “typical heart attack.”

Eventually, the majority of the people who are developing a heart attack feels that something wrong is happening in the body.

Typically, these people experience extremely intense chest discomfort to severe chest pain. Central chest pain is the most common presentation of a heart attack. Although the pain can be “atypical”.You can feel pain in the shoulders, back, neck and even in fingers, instead of the chest. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, breaking out of intense cold sweat. Sometimes you may have a feeling of impending doom.


How some heart attacks are “silent”?

There are numerous reasons why some peoples may suffer from a heart attack without definite symptoms. They are-

  • Some people may have a very high tolerance for pain or high pain threshold and literally do not “notice” symptoms and feelings that would be tough for the rest of us to ignore.
  • Certain diseased conditions, especially Chronic kidney disease and Diabetes, can badly affect those nerves which carry pain impulses. As a result, the symptoms of chest pain or a heart attack may get blunted.
  • In the case of some people, blockage of blood supply to the heart may produce some atypical symptoms. Instead of suffering from angina instead they may suffer from shortness of breath; which is called Dyspnea, mild weakness, or other symptoms that many of us would not instantly relate to our heart. “Atypical” symptoms are usually more common in case of female than male.
  • In the case of some people, especially when the signs and symptoms are relatively less severe, are simply pretty good at ignoring the symptoms. Rather they just brush them off thinking due to heartburn, cold or simple indigestion.
  • Sex and age are usually associated with these silent heart attacks. Actually, heart attacks are more likely to be silent in case of older people. In fact more than 75 percent of them. Again male is more sufferer from these silent heart attacks than female.

If you sum up all those reasons up, you will find that almost one out of five heart attacks appears to be a silent one.

The Risk Factors

Ultimately the risk factors for a “silent heart attack” and those for a heart attack with symptoms are similar. And the Risk factors eventually include-

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Chewing tobacco or smoking
  • Elderly age
  • High level of cholesterol
  • Hypertension(High blood pressure)
  • Chronic or persistent kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive overweight
  • No or lack of exercise
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Eating junk food
  • Persistent lack of sleep
  • Excessive consumption of pain killer drugs like NSAID’S

How common is the occurrence of silent heart attacks?

Definitely, Silent heart attacks are way more common than we think.

Very recent studies show that almost one out of three of all heart attacks are silent. As people remain unaware of their condition, the risk of death becomes higher.

That’s why you must be careful if you have any of risk factors for heart attack. Particularly if you have diabetes you should be more concerned. Usually, Diabetic patients are more likely to have silent heart attacks. Because of high sugar in their blood and poor circulation. This damages their nerve cells such that they do not experience pain the same way as someone with no d

The way of preventing “silent heart attack”.

While now I’m discussing prevention tips, I advice you to follow the following tips:

1. At first, must go for a health screening to identify any existence of artery blockages that you may have. If present then goes for the treatment.

2. Nextly, identify the risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity. Consult with your doctor for keeping the existing risk factors under maximum control.

If the doctor prescribes drugs or medications for that, you must have them routinely. If you are a smoker then stop at once. Remember Smoking almost gives you a guarantee for heart disease or cancer or other fatal diseases in your lifetime.

3. The last approach changes in lifestyle like eating healthy food and doing exercise. Leading a sedentary lifestyle gives you almost four times the risk of death as compared to being overweight but active. Only 30 minutes of exercise per day can remarkably lower your risk of death. Eat unsaturated fat and avoid saturated fat.

In conclusion, for you, my message is to do health screening and identifying your risk factors, keep the risk factors under maximum control and must adopt an active healthy lifestyle with eating healthy and doing exercise. These will definitely minimize your risk to develop a heart attack for many years to come.

What happens If you don’t go for medical help?

Always remember that a heart attack is a pretty serious condition and eventually can lead you to death. So, if you experience any of the subtle symptoms that I mentioned then must go to your doctor to for an emergency assessment.

A silent heart attack always puts you at a greater danger of having yet another heart attack. And this can be fatal. Another heart attack will also increase the risk of complications which may lead to heart failure. So don’t even think to take a silent heart attack lightly. Be alert and be careful about your blood pumping machine (The heart)