“Just like the name implies, a silent heart attack is a heart attack that has either no symptoms or minimal symptoms or unrecognized symptoms,” says Deborah Ekery, M.D., a clinical cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin and with Austin Heart in Austin, TX. “But it is like any other heart attack where blood flow to a section of the heart is temporarily blocked and can cause scarring and damage to the heart muscle.” For more than 4 months, Mrs.Kapoor (52) felt exhausted through out the day. Displeased with everything, her children were worried for her ill-temper. They urged her to go to the doctor but she kept making excuses. One day before leaving for a family gathering, she became more restless with tears in her eyes. She was finally taken to the hospital by her kids where the doctor ordered an electrocardiogram (EKG). Result showed that Mrs.Kapoor had suffered a so-called “silent heart attack” at some indeterminate point, perhaps months earlier.
Though silent heart attack is most common among women and people with diabetes, but it can happen to anyone. The fact is: Heart disease has the highest mortality rate among women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
- Unexplained fatigue
- Shortness of breath and/or discomfort in the throat, neck, jaw
What to do during a silent heart attack?
The term “silent” in a silent heart attack is the complicating factor—often, women don’t realize they’re experiencing a medical emergency. If you do notice symptoms of a silent heart attack, try to stay calm and call for ambulance immediately. When you get to the hosptial, make it clear that you think you may be having a heart attack and not an anxiety attack. Advocate for yourself or, if you can, bring along someone who will advocate for you.
A silent heart attack can be just as dangerous as its more obvious counterpart. Because it often leaves scarring and damage to the heart, it puts the person at greater risk of other heart problems. And because the person didn’t know to seek treatment, blood flow to the heart
might not have been restored early on, and no medications were administered, so the impact could potentially be greater.
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