We’ve all seen characters in TV shows and movies have heart attacks — they grab their left arm and suddenly fall to the ground. And while arm pain is certainly a common sign of a heart attack, it’s far from the only one.
What is a Silent Heart Attack?
Silent heart attacks, particularly in women, are becoming far more common. As its name implies, a silent heart attack is a heart attack that presents with few to no symptoms, but still does all the damage of a traditional heart attack.
Because many people don’t even realize they are having a cardiac episode, they don’t go to the hospital or seek treatment. It’s important to know the signs of a silent heart attack so you can seek medical attention quickly.
Identifying a Silent Heart Attack
While some silent heart attacks present with no symptoms at all, some make themselves known in mild or far less common ways, including:
- Sudden nausea, indigestion, or heartburn
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
Preventing a Heart Attack
Reducing your likelihood of a heart attack begins with lowering your number of risk factors. Typically, those most at risk for a heart attack of any kind are those:
- With a high body mass index (BMI).
- Who smoke or use tobacco.
- With high blood pressure.
- Who eat a diet high in fast food, fatty foods, and sugar.
- Who drink alcohol excessively.
- Who suffer from high anxiety or stress levels.
While most of the above risk factors can be managed through lifestyle changes, not all risk factors are under our control. Variables such as age (men and women 50 and older are more likely to suffer a heart attack), gender (women are believed to be more likely to suffer a heart attack than men), and family history (you’re at a greater risk for a heart attack if a close family member has suffered one).
Methodist Hospital of Southern California offers the latest diagnostic and treatment services. Our highly qualified Chest Pain Team is available 24 hours a day to evaluate and relieve chest pain quickly. Whether you are having a heart attack or believe you are at a high risk of heart disease, our team is ready to perform a thorough examination and help you make critical changes that give patients a second chance at life.