Even if you’re lucky enough to have never experienced a heart attack, I bet you still know what one looks like. You probably even have an idea of how it feels.
The red face. A sudden sharp pain in the chest and left arm. Gasping for air.
We’ve all seen it acted out hundreds of times in movies and TV shows. So we know what to look for.
Well, not so fast. It turns out at least half of all heart attacks happen without any of these known symptoms.
Silent heart attacks strike 50% of the time
The stereotypical, chest-clutching heart attack we all think of when we hear the term heart attack is what experts call a recognized myocardial infarction or RMI. But at least 50 percent of heart attacks are the “silent” variety.
Not only do they not look or feel like the heart attack most of us are familiar with, but around 80 percent of folks who have a silent heart attack also have no clue anything is wrong.
And yet, in the end, they’re every bit as damaging and dangerous as their more showy cousins, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Cardiology. Just not at first.
Silent but JUST as deadly
Within the first three years after a silent heart attack, your risk of death is about the same as someone who has never had a heart attack. But within the next decade, the silent heart attack catches up and becomes JUST as risky as a regular heart attack.
Experts believe that a silent heart attack affects different parts of the heart, making it invisible and damaging it differently. This accounts for the delay in death risk. But over time… damage is damage, and you still pay the price.
And although you’ve managed to skip the pain with a silent heart attack, in some ways, they’re WORSE than the kind that announces themselves loudly. Because after an RMI many folks start to take better care of themselves, and their heart.
And they make the kind of changes that can help heal muscle damage and reduce the scar tissue left behind by the attack.
But when folks don’t even realize they’ve had one they often continue to do the same things that led to the heart attack in the first place.
But here’s the thing. Although silent heart attacks don’t come with the symptoms you’ve come to expect from a heart attack, they aren’t actually totally silent. Their signs are often more subtle and can be easily dismissed.
Silent heart attack symptoms to look for
Common silent heart attack symptoms to look for include…
- sudden, unexpected fatigue
- jaw pain
- mild pain or discomfort in the throat
- upper back pain
If you have a few of these symptoms pop up at once, don’t ignore them. Practice the “better safe than sorry” rule and head to the emergency room. Because even silent heart attacks can be seen on an EKG.
3 small changes for BIG heart results
In the meantime, we should ALL start operating as if we HAVE already had one. Because making some heart-healthy changes now, can help prevent a first or second heart attack.
Following are three super simple steps you can take to support your heart health starting TODAY…
- Eat more wild-caught fatty fish, and organic fruits, veggies, and whole grains
- Commit to moving for at least 30 minutes 5 or 6 days per week
- Consider adding some heart-supporting supplements to your routine such as CoQ10, phytosterols, resveratrol, grape seed extract, and B vitamins.
Don’t let a silent heart attack send your risk for death soaring. Whether you’ve already had one or are at risk for one in the future, making some simple changes today could keep you around for many more tomorrows.
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