Some heart attacks occur with mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Symptomless heart attacks are called “silent heart attacks.” Many people mistake heart attacks with mild symptoms for heartburn or nausea. These heart attacks can be particularly dangerous because you may not feel ill enough to seek out emergency treatment and because you may have a heart attack and still not realize that you have serious heart disease.
Most heart attacks are caused by blockages in arteries. Over time, a fatty substance called plaque builds up in arteries and can block blood flow to the heart. One of the primary ingredients of plaque is cholesterol, which is why your physician will work with you on ways to reduce your cholesterol level.
Your heart attack prevention strategy should be two-fold: seek help if you even suspect you are having a heart attack, and monitor risk factors such as cholesterol on an on-going basis. Remember, not all heart attacks result in severe pain in the chest or radiating pain down the left arm.
Here are other symptoms to be aware of:
• discomfort in the chest, jaw, back or shoulder
• sleep disturbance
• a pounding heart or arrhythmically beating heart