According to a report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), not all heart attacks cause chest pain. Some attacks may be silent causing very little or no symptoms you might be aware of.
This is the conclusion the NIH has come up with after a test that required 10 years and 1,800 participants to complete. The subjects were all 45 years old and above. Each one had no heart disease of any kind but after the 10-year period, the results turned out to be alarming.
In an article posted online by Men’s Health, NIH found out that at least 8% of these participants showed signs of scarring on their hearts. Furthermore, a big percentage of those who had scarring issues were not aware about the problem and so did not seek any medical assistance.
What that means is that these people may have already experienced a heart attack but were completely unaware about it.
David Bluemke, M.D., Ph.D. and director of NIH radiology and imaging sciences, summed it up this way:
“In some cases, patients have symptoms that they feel are not bad enough to go to a doctor.”
Some of these symptoms include:
- Mild chest pain
- Sudden fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Jaw or neck discomfort
So yes, you may not be paying attention but a silent heart attack can feel just like flu or indigestion. Unless treated, this may lead to heart attack which can then cause scarring on your heart.
Dr. Bluemke encourages people who are ages 50 and above, 40 and above with family history of heart disease, or those who are diabetic or smokers to seek medical consultation if these symptoms are experienced more than 20 minutes.
To prevent possible heart attacks, Heart.org suggested the following lifestyle changes:
- Stop smoking
- Choose good nutrition
- High blood cholesterol
- Lower high blood pressure
- Be physically active everyday
- Aim for a health weight
- Manage diabetes
- Reduce stress
- Limit alcohol