12 Signs and Symptoms of Silent Heart Attack

signs symptoms silent heart attack

What is a Silent heart attack

A silent heart attack is the type of heart attack that shows limited if any, symptoms. There may be no typical symptoms to warn you of developing a heart problem, for example, chest pain or shortness of breath. Some individuals recall at a later time that their silent heart attack has been mistakenly taken for indigestion, nausea, muscular pains or bad flu cases.

The risk factors for a silent heart attack are same as for a typical heart attack.

After a silent heart attack, there is a greater risk of another heart attack, which could be fatal. Having another form of heart attack also increases the risk of complications, for example, heart failure.

Signs and Symptoms of Silent Heart Attack


1. Chest discomfort – Which manifests itself as a pain, fullness, and/or squeezing sensation of the chest. Chest pain is a typical symptom of a heart attack, although it can take many different forms in the case of silent heart attack. In such cases, chest pain may not appear at all.  It can also manifest as a mild numbness that can spread to other parts of the body such as hands, back, head and neck. Atypical symptoms of heart attack are most commonly seen in Elderly, diabetics and female patients.

2. Pain in jaws, toothache, and headache – Pain caused by the silent attack can be extended to both hands, to the jaw or head, or to the back. Some individuals often complain about a toothache or a headache as a heart attack symptom. It is possible to have these types of pain or even no pain in the chest during a silent heart attack.

3. Shortness of breath
One of the most common symptoms is the feeling of shortness of breath or gasping for air. Shortness of breath or difficulty with breathing is known to the medical community and it is referred to as dyspnea. There can be an occurrence of shortness of breath before or during chest pain of a heart attack and in nearly all cases it may be linked with some other symptoms of the heart attack without pain in the chest.

The heart plays a crucial role in transporting oxygen to other parts of the body and eliminating carbon dioxide from the tissues, it means that obstructed flow of blood to the heart can affect your breathing.

4. Fatigue or Tiredness – Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of a silent heart attack, especially in women. According to Dr. Sc. Stacey E. Rosen, MD, a Go Red For Women cardiologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System, people at the edge of a heart attack feel tired and cannot perform their usual activities. During a heart attack, there is a reduction in the rate of blood flow to the heart, which further affects the muscles, which could make you feel exhausted.

Do not be hesitant to ask your physician for an electrocardiogram (ECG), which confirms heart activity. “Sometimes when people come with lethargy, doctors do not order an ECG immediately, which can detect a heart attack, but you need to ask your doctor, this is done only to be safe,” says Annapoor Kini, MD, of The Mount Sinai Hospital.

5. Heartburn or belching – In case you have an occasional heartburn flare-up after taking a heavy lunch, you have no cause for concern, but if on the other hand it is out of ordinary or you have not been bothered of heartburn before, get in touch with your doctor because it may indicate an Ischemic Event.  Chest discomfort similar to heartburn, occur as a result of lack of blood flow to the heart, which occurs during a heart attack, said Ryan Madonick, Gastroenterologist, at Health.com

6. Nausea – Nausea or stomach disease is less common, but it’s a likely symptom of a heart attack. Sometimes belching or burping may occur, and some patients describe the sensation of nausea associated with a heart attack. Women are more likely to report these atypical symptoms of a heart attack.

7. Vomiting  –Nausea that accompanies a heart attack can become so strong that it can result in vomiting.

8. General epigastric (upper middle abdomen) discomfort –  Most of the times, the pain of a heart attack is described as abdominal pain or pain that appears in the middle of the upper abdomen. The pain is usually more felt as an inconvenience or heaviness rather than sharp, stabbing pain, and the pain lasts longer than a few minutes. This can happen with or without pain in the left chest area.

9. Pain in the arm (more often your left arm, but it may be either arm) – The pain in the chest of a heart attack can extend, or radiate, below one or both arms and to the shoulders. This is often the case, and the pain can also spread to the wrists and fingers. This is most commonly on the left side of the body but may also appear on the right side of the body as well.

10. Pain in the upper back
The upper back is another common place for spreading of silent heart attack pain. The most common pain in the back resulting from a heart attack is described as being between the shoulder blades.

11. General malaise (vague feeling of illness)
A feeling of general illness may be accompanied by a heart attack. This can be described as tiredness or even dizziness, with or without fainting. Some people experience serious anxiety or panic during a heart attack. This is described as a feeling of impending doom.

12. Sweating
Sweating, or perspiration, can accompany a heart attack. Some people say that they felt like they were blowing cold sweats.

What should you do if you feel these symptoms?

Physicians agree that, if you have any doubts and even if you are not sure something is wrong, you should contact emergency medical response team. If you have a heart attack symptom. A timely remedy can help you restore heart circulation and increase the chances of survival.