What is a Silent Heart Attack?
Silent heart attacks are the same as any other attack, but the person just doesn’t feel it. It is characterized by the absence of any distinguishing symptom of a heart attack, like chest pain. The most notable characteristic of a silent heart attack is that it can occur without your knowledge. Silent heart attack is described as the death of heart muscle due to complete blockage of blood supply to the heart muscle which does not produce any symptoms. This condition accounts for almost 25 to 30% of the total cases of heart attacks. In the US, approximately 4 million people have had silent heart attacks and have no idea this has occurred.
People who have diabetes-related atherosclerosis in their coronary arteries, sometimes suffer, what is called “silent ischemia” or silent heart attack. Some studies estimate that these often painless heart attacks, also known as unrecognized myocardial infarctions, affect 200,000 people in the United States each year. Silent, in this case, means without typical pain because neuropathy, or nerve damage, is a result of uncontrolled diabetes. These people will not feel many sensations of touch, vibration, heat, cold or pain, and this may also include the expected pain of a heart attack.
Symptoms of a Silent Heart Attack
Serious cardiovascular disease can begin before the age of 30 in persons with diabetes. The symptoms of a silent heart attack are generally very mild, and usually, they go unnoticed and hence undiagnosed. Feeling increased fatigue after normal activities is a sign of heart damage from a silent heart attack. Shortness of breath and sleep disturbances are also signs that you’ve had a silent heart attack. This heart condition may also produce a symptom of prolonged abdominal pain in both men and women, while it can cause dizziness and nausea, which can also lead to vomiting, heartburn and clamminess of skin particularly in women.
What causes a Silent Heart Attack?
The cause of silent attack, like any other heart attack, is the progressive narrowing of the heart’s arteries due to accumulation of cholesterol plaque. This condition is generally diagnosed with the help of a detailed study of the patient’s medical history and ECG. As far as the treatment is concerned, the medications prescribed are similar to that prescribed for heart attacks. Modifying lifestyle, proper rest and exercise, a healthy diet etc. are some of the things that must be followed to avoid this condition.