A silent heart attack is a heart attack that has few, if any, symptoms. You may have never had any symptoms to warn you that you’ve developed a heart problem, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. Some people later recall their silent heart attack was mistaken for indigestion, nausea, muscle pain, or a bad case of the flu.
The risk factors for having a silent heart attack are the same as having a heart attack with symptoms. The risk factors include: -Smoking or chewing tobacco -Family history of heart disease -High cholesterol
-Lack of exercise
Having a silent heart attack puts you at a greater risk of having another heart attack, which could be fatal. Having another heart attack also increases your risk of complications, such as heart failure. If you wonder if you’ve had a silent heart attack, talk to your doctor. A review of your symptoms, health history and a physical exam can help your doctor decide if more tests are necessary. The only way to tell if you’ve had a silent heart attack is to have additional tests, such as an electrocardiogram, echo-cardiogram or other imaging tests. These tests can reveal changes that signal you’ve had a heart attack.
Not all people who have heart attacks experience the same symptoms or experience them to the same degree. Many heart attacks aren’t as dramatic as the ones you’ve seen on TV. Some people have no symptoms at all, while for others, the first sign may be sudden cardiac arrest. Still, the more signs and symptoms you have, the greater the likelihood that you may be having a heart attack. The severity of heart attack symptoms can vary too. Some people have mild pain, while others experience severe pain. A heart attack can occur anytime— at work or play, while you’re resting, or while you’re in motion. Some heart attacks strike suddenly, but many people who experience a heart attack have warning signs and symptoms hours, days or weeks in advance. The earliest warning of a heart attack may be recurrent chest pain (angina) that’s triggered by exertion and relieved by rest. Angina is caused by a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart. Many people confuse a heart attack with a condition in which your heart suddenly stops (sudden cardiac arrest). Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when an electrical disturbance in your heart disrupts its pumping action and causes blood to stop flowing to the rest of your body. A heart attack can cause cardiac arrest, but it’s not the only cause of cardiac arrest.
Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.
Major sources of saturated fat include: Red meat
Coconut and palm oils
Sources of trans fat include: Deep-fried fast foods
Packaged snack foods
Heart-healthy eating isn’t all about cutting back, though. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease, but also may help prevent cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements. Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation — no more than two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart.
Coronary artery disease develops when your coronary arteries — the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients — become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) on your arteries are usually to blame for coronary artery disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that’s thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body, a contributing factor to coronary artery disease. Fish and fish oil are the most effective sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring and to a lesser extent tuna, contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and therefore the most benefit. Fish oil supplements may offer benefit, but the evidence is strongest for eating fish. Flax and flaxseed oil also contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, though studies have not found these sources to be as effective as fish. The shell on raw flaxseeds also contains soluble fiber, which can help lower blood cholesterol. Other dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, canola oil, soybeans and soybean oil. These foods contain smaller amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than do fish and fish oil, and evidence for their benefit to heart health isn’t as strong.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of your heart is blocked for a long enough time that part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies. The medical term for this is myocardial infarction. A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 or your local emergency number quickly.
-DO NOT try to drive yourself to the hospital.
-DO NOT WAIT. You are at greatest risk of sudden death in the early hours of a heart attack. Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack. You may feel the pain in only one part of your body, or it may move from your chest to your arms, shoulder, neck, teeth, jaw, belly area, or back. The pain can be severe or mild. It can feel like:
-A tight band around the chest
-Something heavy sitting on your chest
-Squeezing or heavy pressure The pain usually lasts longer than 20 minutes. Rest and a medicine called nitroglycerin may not completely relieve the pain of a heart attack. Symptoms may also go away and come back.
Other symptoms of a heart attack can include: anxiety, cough, cainting, light-headedness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, palpitations, shortness of breath or profuse sweating. After a heart attack you may need Holter Monitoring