What are the symptoms of a silent heart attack?
Research shows that heart attacks may not always be felt through chest pain, and can sometimes occur without the patient knowing.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Heart attacks may not always be defined by crushing chest pains, and can sometimes strike with little to no symptoms.
The BBC reports that a heart attack, or a myocardial infarction, occurs when a clot blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, which damages or kills heart muscle cells. The most common symptom of this is pain or discomfort in the chest area.
But research has found that at least 45% of attacks are 'silent', occurring with less intense symptoms, and thus undetected. Silent myocardial infarctions have been known to strike men more than women.
Symptoms are often mistaken for other conditions, and include fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and pain in the neck, jaw and arm.
Silent heart attacks are usually identified using an electro or echocardiogram, which detects damaged heart tissue, according to Harvard Medical School.
Patients who have suffered a silent attack are at a higher risk of having a second one, or succumbing to sudden cardiac arrest.
Doctors stress the importance of getting checked even if the symptoms may not seem serious. At the end of the day, it's better to be safe than sorry.
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