Can you have heart attack without pain
The Hollywood image of an older man clutching his chest dramatically as he falls to the floor has given many people an unrealistic expectation of what heart attacks look like in real life. Certainly, heart attacks can cause sudden, severe chest pains. However, the exact symptoms vary widely. Learn about the signs of cardiac arrest and what to do if you think you have cardiac problems.
Classic Heart Attack Symptoms
When people learn about heart attack symptoms, they often focus on chest pain as the most common symptom. This type of chest pain may be sharp pain, pressure, or tightness. Often, people describe this beginning in the chest and spread to the neck, jaw, or back. Heart attack pain may spread down the left arm due to the location of the heart on the left side of the chest. Many people also experience sweating when they have this type of heart attack.
Chest pain due to cardiac arrest may be mild or more severe. It can start all of a sudden, or it can begin days, weeks, or even months before the actual heart attack. However, some people never manifest chest pain at all.
Atypical Heart Attack Symptoms
Despite the prominence of chest pain and sweating as classic symptoms, there are other common symptoms of heart attack. These often mirror symptoms of the flu or other chronic health problems, meaning that many people miss them. Some of the most common atypical or non-classic symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Nausea or vomiting
Back pain or jaw pain
A persistent cough
Anyone can have these heart attack symptoms, but women are more likely than men to manifest these non-classic symptoms. Women should be particularly vigilant about so-called “silent heart attacks,” in which you have cardiac arrest but may feel no physical symptoms at all. People often describe a general feeling of malaise or unwellness but may be unaware that they have had a heart attack.
When to Seek Treatment for Heart Disease
For people with heart disease, it’s critical to see a cardiologist to monitor your heart health. Regular visits to your cardiologist ensure that you keep your heart in good working order. Your cardiologist can advise you about your risk for a heart attack as well as interventions that may improve your heart health.
If you have chest pain or some of the silent symptoms of a heart attack, seek help immediately. The earlier you get medical care, the better the chances of saving your life. Never ignore the signs of cardiac problems, particularly if you have risk factors such as being older than 60, overweight, or having high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Err on the side of safety — it could save your life.