Typically heart attacks are associated with a range of symptoms, including lightheadedness, pain spreading to the arms, discomfort causing by pressure or squeezing of the chest. Other symptoms also include back, teeth, neck, stomach and jaw pain. During the event, the patient may also experience sweating, anxiety, shortness of breath and nausea. These are just some of the so-called classic symptoms that occur, but some heart attacks don’t produce any of these well-known symptoms.

How common is a silent heart attack?

According to Medical News Today, about 50% of patients don’t experience most of the classic symptoms. This makes it difficult to identify silent heart attacks at the time of the event; an electrocardiogram (ECG) is the only tell-take sign. A study at the Baptist Medical Center, North Carolina investigated these events, to find out the frequency and risk factors associated with them.

“The outcome of a silent heart attack is as bad as a heart attack that is recognized while it is happening. And because patients don’t know they have had a silent heart attack, they may not receive the treatment they need to prevent another one.”

Dr. Elsayed Z. Soliman, Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC

Who should be more worried about them?

The study demonstrated that 386 individuals had symptomatic heart attacks and 317 individuals had silent heart attacks. The participants were followed for about 20 years compiling information about heart-related diseases. The results demonstrated that 45% of participants had silent heart attacks, which tripled their chances of dying from a heart disease. Men are also more likely to suffer from them compared to women, although women tend to die more frequently from silent heart attacks.

How to prevent them?

It is essential to be aware of silent heart attacks, as they are as deadly as symptomatic heart attacks. Dr. Soliman said that,

“Doctors need to help patients who have had a silent heart attack quit smoking, reduce their weight, control cholesterol and blood pressure, and get more exercise.”

Treatments for silent heart attacks should become rigorous and aggressive as the common-version of the heart attack.

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