Silent Heart Attack

Important Facts About Having A Silent Heart Attack

You are twice as likely to die from a silent heart attack than by having chest pain related to a myocardial infarction.  The faster you receive medical treatment with a regular heart attack, the higher your chance is for recovery.  Since the patient is generally not even aware that they are having the silent type of heart attack, crucial time is lost and the heart is often damaged.

Traditional vs Silent

A standard heart attack that most people are familiar with is a very sudden and serious condition that is a result of the heart not receiving blood.  When there is a stop in the blood flow, the heart tissue dies and then scars.  They can affect different areas of the heart and can be mild to severe.  Heart attacks are always considered a medical emergency and treated as life-threatening regardless of the severity level.

A silent heart attack primarily targets people with diabetes, those who have had a previous heart attack, individuals who are over 65 years of age and those who take medication regularly.


At least 25 percent of individuals who are diabetic and who have had a heart attack, never experienced the warning signs such as weakness, chest pain or arm pain.  Prompt treatment is so important because heart attacks in general have the ability to cause a substantial amount of nerve damage to those that affect the heart.

Typical symptoms include discomfort or mild pain in your jaw, arms or chest that seems better after you rest but then comes back as well as fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and profuse sweating.  Although most people believe that the abrupt chest pain is the most common initial symptom of having a heart attack, it is actually the shortness of breath that appears first.


The best way of identifying a silent heart attack is through an electrocardiogram (ECG), that measures heart activity or by performing a stress test and an echocardiogram, which takes an ultrasound of the heart.  The ultrasound can actually reveal if the person has suffered a silent heart attack and the heart is able to be examined for damage.

An ECG will typically reveal if there are any abnormalities in relation to the heart's electrical signals.  Such abnormalities would offer the idea of an unrecognized heart attack and heart disease.  Additionally, the damaged tissue of the heart can further be examined by a nuclear stress test.


The most important treatment for a silent heart attack is to restore the flow of blood to the heart as fast as possible.  This can be accomplished by using an angioplasty, which is similar to a balloon, to push open the artery or by dissolving the blood clots.


It is crucial that if you think that you are having a heart attack, to take an aspirin which can help prevent damage.  Many people do permanent damage to their heart or die because of pride.  If you think there is a small chance that you are having a heart attack you need to seek medical attention immediately and not wait until the symptoms increase as this is doing more damage.  Even if it is a false alarm, you are better to be safe.  This is your life!


Having routine heart screening done as well as annual exams to test your cholesterol and blood pressure are important.  Heart screening is exceptionally important with diabetics since they rarely feel any symptoms of a silent heart attack.  Anyone that is at high risk for having a heart attack due to high blood pressure or obesity need to focus on changing their lifestyle with healthier eating choices and plenty of exercise.