Silent Heart Attacks Are a Risk for Middle-Aged Adults

A silent heart attack, or heart attack symptom-free, occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t receive enough blood flow to sustain it. This means the arteries are clogged and narrowed, preventing your heart from working properly. If you experience any of these symptoms, you could be at risk for a silent heart attack: chest pain, shortness of breath, jaw pain and discomfort in the shoulder or arms. Don’t delay—get checked out by your doctor immediately!

What is a silent heart attack?

A silent heart attack, also known as silent ischemia or asymptomatic myocardial ischemia, occurs when there are no symptoms of an attack. It typically happens in situations where there is an imbalance between blood supply and demand – like when you suddenly increase your physical activity or exercise. When that happens, it sends your heart into cardiac arrest without you ever knowing what happened.

Who does a silent heart attack affect?

A silent heart attack can happen to any person, regardless of their age. However, it’s more common in middle-aged adults as risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure become more prevalent. It’s important to be aware of these risk factors and make lifestyle changes so you don’t experience one of these attacks.

How common is a silent heart attack?

For middle-aged adults, it’s more common than you might think. According to research published in Circulation: Journal of The American Heart Association, approximately 60 percent of heart attacks in people between ages 35 and 65 are silent. Silent heart attacks typically come with few or no warning signs, meaning they can sneak up on you quickly—and silently.

How does a silent heart attack affect your body?

A silent heart attack is often called a heart attack by laypeople, but that term isn’t accurate. Because they are not detected by symptoms—which are usually (but not always) severe chest pain or discomfort—these types of attacks have been referred to as silent. A silent heart attack is caused by plaque buildup in your arteries and inflammation that narrows your blood vessels, blocking blood flow to portions of your heart muscle.

What are the symptoms of a silent heart attack?

A silent heart attack, also known as an acute coronary syndrome (ACS), can cause chest pain and intense pressure in your chest. The pain of a silent heart attack is often mistaken for indigestion or something less serious. If you experience any symptoms of ACS, it’s important to seek emergency medical attention immediately. At least half of all people who have sudden cardiac arrest do not survive because they wait too long to get help.

What are the risk factors for a silent heart attack?

Anyone can have a silent heart attack. But, there are certain things that make you more likely to have one—including being male and/or over 50 years old. The risk also increases with age and having other medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

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