Silent Heart Attack - how to determine if you have it?
We talk about a heart attack when one of the heart arteries become blocked, making the blood flow decrease. In consequence, the heart muscle gets damaged since it doesn't receive enough oxygen and nutrients, eventually it could cause muscle death.
People under a heart attack commonly experience severe chest pain, cold sweats, nausea, dizziness, pain in the left arm, and neck, fatigue, among other symptoms. When a silent heart attack occurs, the patient doesn't fully experience these symptoms or doesn't even feel them at all.
Let's remember that a heart attack is a Medical Emergency, which means it must be treated immediately. Although the first minutes are crucial, its damage could be repaired if the patient is treated during the first hour.
The damage of the heart muscle depends on the severity of the heart attack, and it could develop different complications that will need medical care.
For instance, a heart attack could hurt the heart muscle seriously enough so it cannot pump the blood needed out of the heart. This heart failure could be either temporary or chronic and cause permanent heart damage. It also increases the risk of cardiac arrest, which could be mortal if not treated immediately.
According to the CDC -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year, although the term "Heart Disease" refers to several heart conditions, the most common one is Heart Attack, and almost half of them are silent.
The silent heart attacks signs are very subtle, like discomfort on the back, chest, arms, or dizziness and fatigue, people could feel breathless after a couple of steps, or a heartburn sensation, and its causes are pretty much the same than a regular heart attack: blocked coronary arteries by substance like cholesterol or by a blood clot , chronical heart diseases, etc.
Unfortunately, anybody could develop a condition like this, even children, it is not a matter of age precisely, nevertheless, the lifestyle and health are important factors that could either increase the risk or reduce it.
By exercising, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, a smoke-free life, you can improve your health and lower the chances to have this and other diseases, such as diabetes, cholesterol, triglycerides, and high blood pressure, because at the end all of them could lead to heart disease as well.
It is important to listen to your body and recognize when you are feeling that something is just not right, so you can get the proper medical care on time. Keep in mind that regular health screenings (twice a year) are necessary to identify your risks and to keep them under control, so you can enjoy of a better life for a long time.