Every year, about 735,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, as heart diseases are the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. Most of the deaths from heart attacks are caused by ventricular fibrillation of the heart that occurs before the victim of the heart attack can reach an emergency room. Normally a heart attack comes with several warning signs as nausea, indigestion,abdominal pain, shortness of breath, cold sweat, fatigue etc; but there is another kind of heart attack that can kill you silently and suddenly. It can happen even without a person knowing about it.
This kind of heart attack is medically termed as ‘silent ischemia’ which means the lack of oxygen to the heart muscle. It is like any other heart attack where blood flow to a section of the heart is temporarily blocked and can cause scarring and damage to the heart muscle. According to Deborah Ekery, M.D., a clinical cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin, some patients have already gone through a silent heart attack before they report the problem to her. It is usually discovered later through an MRI or EKG, and till then a lot of damage has already caused to the heart. Silent heart attack can be more harmful than a normal heart attack as it usually gets ignored and non-treated because it is hard to identify this type of silent heart attack. It puts the person at a greater risk of heart problems due to the absence of awareness and treatment.
HOW TO IDENTIFY SILENT HEART ATTACK?
As the name implies, there are no hard and fast symptoms of this kind of heart attack. A patient is more likely to have subtle and general side effects as indigestion, strain in muscles of upper body including arms, back and jaw. One can also experience minor discomfort in chest, difficulty in breathing and fatigue. Usually people tend to ignore all these signs or associate them with anxiety or something else.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF SILENT HEART ATTACK?
The primary cause of silent heart attack is the blockage of blood circulation in coronary arteries due to a buildup of plaque. According to some studies, women are more likely to get silent heart attacks than men as they ignore the early signs by relating them with anxiety, lack of sleep and stress. The reasons responsible for a silent heart attack are similar to those of normal heart attack as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, family history of heart disease, obesity and age.
HOW TO MANAGE A SILENT HEART ATTACK?
First of all, it is hard to be sure of having ‘silent’ heart attack, not an anxiety attack. If you notice a slightest possibility of heart attack, do not panic and call 911 immediately. Make sure you convince the doctors that you are having a silent heart attack, so that they do not take your case lightly assuming it to be an anxiety attack. Take deep breath and relax your muscles by gently rubbing the areas of pain.
HOW TO PREVENT A SILENT HEART ATTACK?
In order to avoid silent heart attack, one has to be aware of symptoms of heart attack and have an understanding of blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by quitting excessive smoking, doing exercise regularly, having proper diet, and so on. In addition to that, try to understand the mechanism of your body. Anything that seems unusual should be taken care of. Do not rely on random drugs from any online pharmacy, until and unless you are sure about its effects on your body. This thing particularly implies for people above the age of 40, or who have a medical record of diseases like abnormal blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid, etc.