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As the resources are pulled from that area, it means there’s less oxygenated blood going into your bloodstream, and that can cause sudden nausea, indigestion, and abdominal cramps. While they are more difficult—and certainly less cinematic—than a more major attack, there are some subtle signs your heart might be stressed. Another area of the body the heart considers non-vital when there’s trouble is your digestive system. That means muscles in your arms and legs, and that can cause a feeling of both weakness and heaviness. The rupture causes a blood clot to form in the artery, leading to an acute blockage. By Elizabeth Millard High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, high stress levels, illicit substance use, and strong family history of heart attacks all make you more likely to have this kind of attack, he says. When that happens, you might feel dizzy, disoriented, confused, or have short-term memory struggles. People who’ve had silent heart attacks—whether they know it or not at the time—are at higher risk for another attack because of potential heart damage, Dr. Quinones-Camacho says. Elizabeth Millard is a freelance writer focusing on health, wellness, fitness, and food. Don’t miss a thing by downloading Apple News here and following Prevention. “If it runs in your family, talk to your doctor, because it may make sense to start medications like statins. There may also be a change in the way the upper chambers of the heart beat, causing arrhythmia, where it feels like your heart is skipping beats or banging against the wall of your chest. Indigestion, shortness of breath, and sudden fatigue could all be signs of heart trouble. You may have never had any symptoms to warn you that you've developed a heart problem, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. You’ll love our magazine! You’re stressed, tired, a bit out of breath, distracted by your to-do list, have a little heartburn—for many people, this isn’t a silent heart attack, it’s just another Monday morning. From there, consider heart-healthy habits like eating more fruits and vegetables, getting more activity, lowering stress levels, getting enough sleep, and making time for social connections. “Diabetic patients may be at particularly high risk for silent heart attack because chronic diabetes causes degeneration of the heart’s autonomic nerves, which typically alert one to a heart attack,” adds Dr. Ajijola. We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. The heart muscle being supplied by the blocked artery immediately becomes ischemic(starved for oxygen), which typically leads to ches… 6 “Silent” Heart Attack Symptoms You Should Never Ignore, According to Cardiologists Indigestion, shortness of breath, and sudden fatigue could all be signs of heart trouble. Here are some potential signs of a silent heart attack: The heart and lungs work together to make sure your blood has enough oxygen at all times, and when something goes wrong in your cardiovascular system, your breathing is usually affected immediately, according to Adriana Quinones-Camacho, M.D., a cardiologist at NYU Langone Health in New York. You Might Be Wrong. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at, 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make After a Heart Attack, 20 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure Naturally, 6 Things That Increase Your Heart Attack Risk, How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally With Food, Tweet About Heart Attack Symptoms Goes Viral, 9 Reasons Why You Feel Lightheaded and Dizzy, Think You Know How to Do CPR? Also, find out your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers.”. A heart attack usually occurs when an atherosclerotic plaque in one of the coronary arteries ruptures. “Also, women may have a higher risk of not recognizing the signs of a problem because they tend to have atypical symptoms for heart attacks, like abdominal pain, jaw discomfort, or just feeling generally unwell.”. Like what you just read? The same risk factors for a typical heart attack also apply to a silent heart attack, according to Olujimi Ajijola, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiologist at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Try This Quick Arm Workout in Your Backyard, 10 Signs of Heart Failure You Should Never Ignore, 7 Heart Attack Symptoms Women Should Know, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Does that mean you can never tell if an attack is occurring, learning about it only later? You might feel winded just walking across a room, or even not moving at all. Go here to subscribe. For instance, you might be jarred awake at the end of the attack, but chalk it up to a bad dream or snoring. “The best part about focusing on heart health is that it has a ripple effect,” says Dr. Greenfield. A silent heart attack is a heart attack that has few, if any, symptoms. But when that feeling is accompanied by a racing heart or overwhelming fatigue, it could be more than the usual blahs. Dr. Greenfield says many people find it difficult to stand or walk at that moment, because they feel such an intense wave of fatigue. As your heart struggles to remedy whatever is happening, it will divert resources away from what it considers non-essential functions. The Surprising Symptom That Could Signal A Heart Attack In Women. When there’s a problem, your heart will immediately try to course correct, and that often means pumping faster, says Dr. Ajijola. Not at all. In fact, some people find out they’ve had an attack only after a subsequent one that sends them to the hospital. Oh, and we’re on Instagram too. Order the Prevention Smoothies & Juices Book! Why trust us? Prevention participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. The silent attacks can even happen in your sleep without waking you up completely, he adds. “Lifestyle changes make a huge difference, even if you have significant family history,” she states. Some people later recall their silent heart attack was mistaken for indigestion, nausea, muscle pain or a bad case of the flu. But if you can’t “reset” yourself with deep breathing, or you feel like you simply can’t get enough air, you should probably get checked out. However, there’s quite a bit you can do to prevent that going down that road. While those incidents are certainly possible in real life, not all heart attacks follow that pattern. Even though the heart makes sure the blood is number one on its list when problems occur, a silent heart attack happening because of a circulation issue might stop oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain effectively. “All these strategies to keep your heart strong can lead to having more energy, sleeping better, getting fit, and generally just enjoying your life more.”. Some people mistake this for a panic attack since that also tends to cause shortness of breath. This is the most challenging symptom of a silent heart attack, says Dr. Quinones-Camacho, because let’s face it, don’t we all feel lousy sometimes? Here's what happens when someone has a heart attack in a movie: The character (usually a man) winces in pain, grabs his chest, doubles over, and falls to the ground. Most of us tend to think about a myocardial infarction (heart attack) as a pretty dramatic event — and most of the time, it is. This can be mistaken for heartburn, says Dr. Greenfield, because you may feel tightness and burning in the chest, similar to an acid reflux reaction. “The definition of ‘silent heart attack’ is that someone has had heart damage but didn’t experience enough classic symptoms to go into the ER,” says Robert Greenfield, M.D., cardiologist and medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. “Often, we only find out they happened after they’ve had a second heart attack and that first, silent one shows up in their test results.”.

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