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Symptoms of a Silent Heart Attack

Updated On Nov 21, 2020

Heart attacks are very sudden emergencies. Generally, heart attack symptoms are a pain in the chest or upper arm. The next step we consider is to call an ambulance. But in some cases, heart attacks do not have such warning signs. One cannot feel any change while having a heart attack. This unrecognizable sudden heart attack is called silent Ischemia. In this, the person has minimal or no symptoms or unrecognized symptoms.

Why Does the Silent Heart Attack Occur?

Like the usual heart attack, a silent heart attack also occurs due to blockage in the heart. The medical explanation for this condition is when the blood flow gets restricted in the coronary arteries of the heart. A plaque is formed which damages the heart muscles causing the attack.

According to reports by the CDC, about 1 in 5 attacks is silent. These attacks are unrecognizable enough to get ignored.

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Symptoms of a Silent Heart Attack

There are very minimal symptoms that one can observe while having a silent heart attack. Here are the four major signs that can be considered for an attack

  • Mild Chest Pain: Chest pain is a common sign of a heart attack. Although a silent heart attack has minimal symptoms, one can feel mild discomfort in the centre part of the chest. This discomfort might feel like uncomfortable pressure or squeezing. This lasts for several minutes and can occur on and off.
  • Discomfort in Other Body Parts: While having a silent heart attack, one can feel discomfort in body parts as well. In most cases, this discomfort is felt in upper body parts like arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. As the person feels uneasy in various parts other than the chest, it becomes more confusing while identifying this as a heart attack. Some feel pressure around their back in such an emergency.
  • Shortness of Breath: One of the symptoms includes shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing. Shortness of breath occurring without cause might be a sign of a silent heart attack. As the blood is blocked in the arteries, the level of oxygen reaching our vital parts like the brain decreases. This results in dizziness or feeling light-headed. The person can feel difficulty in doing easy tasks like making the bed.
  • Nausea and Cold Sweats: Having cold sweats or nausea is a common sign of flu, but this also happens in a silent heart attack. Feeling nauseated or the urge of vomiting occurs when one feels light-headed while having a silent heart attack.

A silent heart attack is so mild and brief that it often gets unnoticed. These symptoms also occur when a person has flu or some other common ailment. Due to the minimal signs, one cannot be cautious while having the attacks.

The common risk factors of a silent heart attack are smoking, drinking, high levels of cholesterol, no physical activity, high blood pressure, overweight, and diabetes. These heart attacks are fatal enough to damage our heart muscles or cause scars in them.


As a silent heart attack is difficult to get noticed, one should take proper care of themselves. According to studies, if a person experiences silent heart attacks for three consecutive times and does not get proper treatment. They might die due to coronary artery disease. So one should take a silent heart attack as a warning sign of the body. It is also advised to get health insurance because the treatment of cardiac issues is pretty expensive.

Also Read: Top Cardiac Care Plans in India

Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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