Most people think that, when someone experiences a heart attack, that person suffers from a moderate to intense pain from his or her chest or any other area near the heart itself. However, what most of us don’t know is that there is also a ‘silent’ version of heart attack, the type that strikes without the person noticing it.
Silent Heart Attack: Definition and Diagnosis
What is a ‘Silent’ Heart Attack?
Unlike the usual myocardial infarction (medical term for heart attack) which tends to be dramatic most of the time, silent heart attacks have the same effect to the person’s body, though most of the patients testify that they don’t experience any kind of pain at all. The truth is, there are lots of factors that can make the heart attack ‘silent’, some of which are listed below:
- Medical conditions that affect nerve sensitivity such as diabetes and paralysis can literally make you numb, making you completely ignore the heart attack’s symptoms.
- Some people are born with very high tolerance for pain compared to others.
- Some people tend to ignore symptoms of various health conditions for as long as it doesn’t bother them or interfere with their daily activities.
- There are also cases that those who experience cardiac ischemia or angina do not experience any kind of chest pain at all. Instead, they experience other symptoms that no one would think of as a heart attack symptom such as shortness of breath, recurring weakness or intense fatigue.
Is there any difference between a Silent Heart Attack and the usual one?
Medical experts have pointed out that there is strictly NO DIFFERENCE between the silent heart attack and the usual heart attack aside from the lack of pain factor. Needless to say, if people could possibly die from an untreated ‘usual’ heart attack, the silent one can kill those who are affected as well. What makes it hard for doctors, though, is the fact that since the patient doesn’t experience any kind of pain, the health condition is ignored until the patient suffers from more severe symptoms. In such a case, there’s a probability that a heart operation will be advised by the attending physician.
Unless you’re the type of person who undergoes a regular medical checkup, chances are that the silent heart attack will be ignored until the obvious symptoms regarding the health condition appear. In some cases, the condition is usually identified and diagnosed by the doctor after examining electrocardiogram results. In such a case, the doctor will then require the patient to undergo an echo-cardiogram examination for confirmation.