Did You Just Have a Heart Attack and Not Know?

Last modified: August 2, 2019

Richard Honaker M.D.
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Almost half of people who have a heart attack don’t even know that that’s what’s happening at that time. These silent heart attacks are only diagnosed after the event, when an electrocardiogram (ECG) or another test reveals evidence of damage to the heart.

One explanation for this phenomenon is a person’s higher than normal tolerance for pain. Some mistake their symptoms as indigestion or muscle pain. Some may feel pain but in parts of their upper body other than the center of the chest.

People Feel Different Sensations

Most people are not exactly aware that during a heart attack, the classic symptom of chest pain only happens around half of the time. Some describe heart attack symptoms as chest discomfort or pressure. Some also say they feel an intense and crushing sensation or a deep ache like a toothache.

There are particular people who are less sensitive to pain than others or they may deny their pain and tough it out because they don’t want to seem weak in the eyes of others. Some also don’t have a good sense of their own pain tolerance and other factors like emotional state can cloud their perception of pain.

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People with diabetes may also be less sensitive to pain because the disease can deaden nerves. This condition is called diabetic neuropathy. And because of this, diabetics’ risk for a silent heart attack increases a great deal.

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Heart Attack Pain Location Varies

During a heart attack, the location of the pain varies from person to person. Pain may occur in the arm, shoulder, neck, jaw, or anywhere else in the upper half of the body. One patient who had a heart attack reported to have felt earlobe pain, and another felt pain in her wrist.

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There are also other nonclassic symptoms that people don’t usually attribute to heart attack like nausea, vomiting, and weakness. Women are more likely to experience non-classic heart attack symptoms, but that doesn’t mean that men can’t have those symptoms too. Non-classic symptoms are also frequent in older people.

Here are some of the classic symptoms of heart attack:

  • Pressure, aching, or tightness in the center of the chest
  • Pain or discomfort that radiates out to other upper body parts, especially the shoulders, neck, and arms
  • Sweating

Here are some of the non-classic symptoms of heart attack:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Back or jaw pain
  • Unexplained fatigue

Be aware of heart attack symptoms in women. Now that you have been made aware of the other symptoms of heart attack, be alert if these symptoms are observed so as to help save more lives, yours most especially. Talk to a doctor for free about this today!

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Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker: http://www.independentmedicalexaminer.com/IME-Directory/Virginia/Dr-Richard-A-Honaker-MD.asp

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

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