Heart attack is one of the most dangerous diseases that people suffer from. It claims more than 17 million lives every year, according to the World Health Organization. Most of these deaths are attributed to stroke and heart attack, and people may experience symptoms before the disease. However, not everyone experiences symptoms before a heart attack. A heart attack that does not show any symptoms is known as a silent attack.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Kaushal Chhatrapati, MD DM, FACC FSCAI FESC, Interventional Cardiologist, to understand more about silent heart attacks.
What is a silent heart attack?
A heart attack can be termed as silent when symptoms are not noticed at all or are so mild or unusual that they are not associated with a heart attack. Some of the mild symptoms that may show include fatigue, mild breathlessness, stiffness in the left hand, or “feeling unwell or under the weather,” explains Dr Chhatrapati.
The damage caused to the heart muscles is as severe as a normal heart attack. Since silent heart attacks don’t show any symptoms, the patients may do worse and may not receive timely treatment. When left untreated, which usually happens in such cases, may even lead to heart failure due to damaged muscles or sometimes sudden death.
The good thing is that silent heart attacks are not really symptom less, adds the expert. “Whenever there are any symptoms like tiredness, soreness of muscle, or acidity, especially in diabetics, always get an ECG done. This may unmask the silent heart attack, and treatment can be then administered,” he adds.
How are heart attacks treated?
Dr Chhatrapati explains that the treatment of a silent heart attack is the same as a routine one and the patient would require an angioplasty. Prevention is always better than cure. So, you should definitely look out for ways to keep heart disease at bay whether or not you are at risk. Having said that, here’s what you should keep in mind to keep heart disease at bay.
1. Eat healthy
While there is no one size fits all when it comes to a healthy diet for a healthy heart, some studies have shown that certain diets may help. Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet and a vegetarian diet are some of the best diets to follow to protect your heart from diseases.
2. Maintain stress levels
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to keep it in check. So, take care of yourself and try everything you can to keep your stress levels in check.
3. Lose weight
A study published in the journal Circulation found that being obese or overweight can lead to heart disease. So, it is imperative to maintain a healthy weight to keep heart disease at bay.
4. Say no to smoking
Studies have shown that smoking is one of the most common causes of heart disease. So, it is better to quit smoking and cut down on alcohol to reduce the risk.
5. Be vigilant
Since all symptoms are unnoticeable, it is important to take every symptom seriously to safeguard yourself against such diseases.
Silent heart attack or otherwise, you may never get a second chance at life, so be as vigilant as you can!