Cochin Cardiac Club

Health Blog by Dr.Uday Nair

SILENT HEART ATTACK

Silent heart attack is described as the death of heart muscle due to complete blockage of blood supply to the heart muscle which does not produce any symptoms.Since there is damage to the nerve supply to the coronary arteries which supplies blood to the heart the patient may not be get chest pain with even in severe heart attacks.

It may sound unbelievable, but most people who have silent heart attacks are not able to recognize it and carry on with their lives as normal. This is a main reason, why silent heart attacks are more dangerous than conventionally painful ones. Studies have revealed that, those who have had a history of silent heart attacks are at 10 times higher risk of death. The reason being, that heart attack remains in the undetected state and can cause irreparable damage to the heart and the overall health.

Symptoms of Silent Heart Attacks



The best way to identify this disease is through careful study of medical history, ECG (electrocardiogram; measures heart activity) and testing blood for cardiac enzymes. The most important treatment in silent heart attack is restoring the blood flow to the heart.
Restoring blood flow can be accomplished by dissolving clots found in the artery (thrombolysis) or by pushing the artery open using a balloon (angioplasty). Both thrombolysis and angioplasty may be used at the same time.
It is reported that as much as 25 percent of those having a heart attack and being diabetic never felt any of the common warning signs such as crushing chest pressure, weakness, arm pain or others.
Silent heart attacks and heart attacks in general can damage to nerves that affect the heart (autonomic neuropathy, or AN) could be the culprit.

Symptoms of a silent heart attack can include discomfort in your chest, arms or jaw that seem to go away after resting, shortness of breath and tiring easily. The most common complaint of visitors to the emergency room is Chest Pain which is by far the most symptom you're having a heart attack. Although Chest Pain takes 1st place as an indicator, second place would be given to extreme shortness of breath! Oddly enough, many heart attack victims reported a feeling of overwhelming doom just before an attack.

The best way to identify a silent heart attack is through careful study of medical history, ECG (electrocardiogram; measures heart activity) and testing blood for cardiac enzymes. The most important treatment in silent heart attack is restoring the blood flow to the heart.
Restoring blood flow can be accomplished by dissolving clots found in the artery (thrombolysis) or by pushing the artery open using a balloon (angioplasty). Both thrombolysis and angioplasty may be used at the same time.


Recognize the Danger




Either silent or otherwise, the most common factors that can bring on heart attacks are:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • No exercise
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of heart attacks
  • Obesity
Silent heart attacks come without any warning, so it is best to be alert and be medically examined in such high risk cases.


Reduce the Possibility



Though the symptoms may be mild, they can be easily detected, by a family history check of the patient. You need to access the risk factors and speak to your doctor about the possibilities of you having a heart attack. The doctor may suggest certain tests such as blood pressure, cholesterol test, echo stress test, blood sugar level test. There are various self-help measures, you need to take to reduce the risk of heart attack, silent or otherwise.
  • If you are above 35 years, it's advisable to go for heart check-up regularly
  • If you are obese, losing weight would help improvise your cardiovascular health
  • Walk briskly for 15-20 minutes everyday
  • Cut down on your intake of saturated fat like meat, cheese and butter
  • Lower your salt intake
By making a few changes in your lifestyle, you can actually minimize the possibility of a heart attack.Please also read articles Heart Attack,Unstable Angina and Emergency Chest Pain.


Please Note-




To prevent oneself from silent heart attack, one should avoid consumption of fat foods, stop smoking and should do regular exercise or yoga. It is necessary for those above 35 to go for an ECG, stress test, lipid profile, sugar tests at least once in two years


1 comment:

Dr.Uday.D.Nair said...

We had couple of male patients recently,below 40 yrs with no risk factors or family history and still suffered a silent attack.This prompted me to write this post.Hope this post has been useful.