What Are the 4 Silent Signs of a Heart Attack?
Most people know the signs of a “classic” heart attack – stabbing pain in the left side of the chest and radiating pain down the left arm. But there are other signs that can be far more difficult to recognize, which means you could be at risk for a serious and even fatal attack without even knowing it.
Heart disease, cardiac arrest, and other cardiac problems are the most common causes of death among both women and men in the U.S., yet every year, thousands of people die as a result of a heart attack, even without a prior diagnosis of disease. Although heart attacks are certainly more common among people with a family history of cardiac problems, anyone can have a heart attack – even men and women who otherwise seem completely healthy. Knowing the signs of an attack – including the signs that are more difficult to recognize – could mean the difference between life and death.
4 “Silent” Signs of Heart Attack
- Fatigue: Extreme or sudden fatigue is one of the most commonly under-recognized signs of a heart attack. Why? Because most people tend to ignore fatigue as the byproduct of a bad night’s sleep, strenuous activity or even older age.
- Jaw pain: It’s true jaw pain can be linked to stress or dental problems, but it’s also associated with heart attacks. Heart attack-related jaw pain can occur on its own or in combination with other symptoms.
- A backache or neck ache: It’s easy to write off discomfort in your back or neck as signs of overexertion or even sleeping in a “bad” position, but actually, pain in the upper back and the neck are both signs of a possible heart attack
- Dizziness: Heart attacks interfere with the regular flow of blood as it exits your heart. That means your organs – including your brain – don’t get the oxygen they need for normal function. When the oxygen-rich blood traveling to your brain is depleted – even by a small amount – you can begin to feel dizzy. Of course, dizziness can be caused by other issues as well, including illnesses, allergies, and ear-related problems. But if it’s accompanied by other symptoms, it’s important to be checked out right away.
It’s true these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you’re having a heart attack, especially if they occur individually; but when they occur regularly, in combination with other symptoms or during physical exertion, it’s important to have them evaluated by your doctor.
Do you have heart disease? Know your risks.
Heart disease affects millions of men and women each year, and many don’t even know they’re affected. In fact, one study found as many as 80 percent of men and women who had had a “silent heart attack” were unaware they’d even had an attack, despite the presence of scarring in the heart tissue. Whether you have a family history of heart disease or not, having routine cardiac evaluations is an important part of staying healthy and avoiding serious consequences. Take a step toward better health. If you’re in the greater Phoenix area, call Tri-City Cardiology at 480-835-6100 and schedule a consultation today.