Almost Half of All Heart Attacks Do Not Have Symptoms, Says Study

   |  Updated: May 23, 2016 17:02 IST

Almost Half of All Heart Attacks Do Not Have Symptoms, Says Study
  • A heart attack may not always have the obvious symptoms
  • A silent heart attack occurs when blood flow to the muscle is reduced
  • Fatigue, nausea & jaw discomfort are some uncommon symptoms
A heart attack may not always have the obvious symptoms, there can be certain subtle signs that are very easy to miss. As per the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for more than 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030. A new research reveals that nearly half of all heart attacks may not have classic symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath and cold sweats but are likely to be silent. A silent heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. 

"The outcome of a silent heart attack is as bad as a heart attack that is recognized while it is happening," said Elsayed Z. Soliman, director of the epidemiological cardiology research centre at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, in the US.

The findings showed that silent heart attacks are made up 45 percent of all heart attacks. These are more commonly found in men but are more likely to cause death in women. Moreover, the risk of dying from heart disease increases by three times in case of a silent heart attack. The chance of dying from all other causes rises by 34 percent.

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Silent heart attacks are usually detected when patients undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG) -- a process to check heart's electrical activity. "Doctors need to help patients who have had a silent heart attack quit smoking, reduce their weight, control cholesterol and blood pressure and get more exercise," the researchers noted in the paper published in the journal Circulation.

For the study, the team analysed the records of 9,498 middle-age adults.For over an average of nine years after the start of the study, 317 participants had silent heart attacks while 386 had heart attacks with clinical symptoms. The symptoms are such that they may easily be mistaken for indigestion, muscle pain or body ache due to flu. According to Dr. Adarsh Kumar, Internal Medicine, National Heart Institute, "There are certain warning signs of a heart attack that one should look out for but they may be often ignored or confused for something else. These include sudden weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, the sensation of an abnormal heartbeat, jaw discomfort or pain in the arm. Recognizing these signs can help prevent a catastrophe."

CommentsWith inputs from IANS

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