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Decoding the Silent Terror of Heart Attacks: Unseen Symptoms and Stealthy Risks

Decoding the Silent Terror of Heart Attacks: Unseen Symptoms and Stealthy Risks


Silent heart attacks are the crafty masqueraders of the medical world. Unlike their louder counterparts, they often leave no apparent trace of their deadly visit.

These stealthy killers hide in plain sight, posing significant threats to heart health. Alarmingly, research from Harvard University reveals that almost 45% of heart attacks are silent, making it a pressing concern that demands immediate attention.

Hiding in the Shadows: The Silent Heart Attack Menace

Silent heart attacks, or silent myocardial infarctions (SMI), don’t play by the standard rules of illness. Common diseases announce their presence through telltale signs and symptoms such as fever, aches, and pains.

Yet, the symptoms of a silent heart attack can be so ambiguous or non-existent that it’s often misdiagnosed or overlooked.

These elusive cardiac episodes cause more damage than you might think. Being hard to detect makes them even more deadly.

Unsettlingly, their victims often disregard vague symptoms like fatigue, heartburn, gastric influx, and indigestion.

Consequently, by the time individuals seek medical help due to more severe symptoms like shortness of breath, their hearts have already suffered significant damage.

Who’s on the Silent Heart Attack Radar?

According to heart.org, women and individuals with diabetes are more likely to suffer from a silent heart attack.

Symptoms might mimic a digestive issue, a strained muscle in the chest or upper back, or excessive fatigue. Furthermore, men over 45 and women over 55 generally face a higher likelihood of experiencing a heart attack.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, a renowned Cardiologist at Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, sheds more light on this covert heart assailant.

He states that a silent heart attack doesn’t feel like a typical heart attack, which is usually characterized by stabbing pain in the arm, neck, or jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, or dizziness.

In fact, the symptoms of a silent heart attack can be so fleeting and mild that people often mistake them for other health issues and delay seeking proper medical care.

Stressful or strenuous activities could potentially trigger a silent heart attack. Abrupt increase in physical activity or exposure to extreme cold may also contribute to the risk.

Can I Unknowingly Suffer a Silent Heart Attack?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Silent heart attacks often go unnoticed as the individual may not realize it’s a cardiac problem.

Often, such heart attacks are discovered incidentally during medical tests like an electrocardiogram (ECG) or imaging scans, conducted for unrelated reasons.

This underlines the importance of regular medical check-ups, particularly for those with a family history or other risk factors for heart disease.

Could a Silent Heart Attack Be Fatal?

Yes, silent heart attacks can be fatal. Without timely diagnosis and treatment, heart muscle damage can escalate, leading to an increased risk of future cardiovascular events, including potentially fatal heart attacks or heart failure.

Moreover, individuals who experience silent heart attacks often have underlying risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. If not managed, these factors can expedite the progression of heart disease.

Who Is at Greater Risk?

The risk of silent heart attacks typically increases with age, with those over 65 being more prone. Certain health conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, or a history of stroke, can increase this risk.

Are Diabetics More Susceptible?

Indeed, diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart disease, and those with diabetes are more likely to develop cardiovascular complications, including silent heart attacks. It is, therefore, crucial for diabetics to monitor their heart health meticulously.

Can I Dodge the Silent Heart Attack Bullet?

Prevention is undoubtedly the best strategy. Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of a silent heart attack.

A balanced diet, regular physical activity, and quitting smoking are all part of this equation. Regular check-ups and screenings can also help in early detection and timely intervention.

How Do We Combat Silent Heart Attacks?

Treatment hinges on angiography results. If critical blockages are found in key areas, angioplasty or bypass surgery may be needed. In other cases, medical management and Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) therapy may prove beneficial.

For a healthier heart, awareness is the key. Acknowledging the existence and understanding the workings of silent heart attacks could potentially save countless lives.



source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/health/silent-heart-attack-hidden-signs-and-symptoms-that-are-likely-to-go-unnoticed-101689921038984.html

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