SODOM & GOMORRAH: New data indicates that as many as half of all heart attacks may be “silent”. This means that patients can have cardiac episodes that don’t come with the typical gauntlet of symptoms such as extreme chest pain, shortness of breath, and cold sweats.
The report, which was published on May 16th in the journal Circulation, found that nearly 45% of the study group experienced silent heart attacks. The study looked at a sample of 9,500 Americans who had history of cardiac episodes. The study authors further found that silent heart attacks triple the odds of dying from heart disease.
Dr. Elsayed Soliman, the director of epidemiological cardiology research at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina said that “Silent heart attacks are almost as common as heart attacks with symptoms and just as bad.” Heart attacks are known to reduce or entirely stop blood flow to the heart and when people experience silent heart attacks, they often aren’t diagnosed and increase their chances for future episodes.
Doctors suggested that patients who experience even mild chest pain alongside risk factors for heart attacks (high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes) should go in for testing. Additionally, they suggest lifestyle changes such as better diet and exercise, which can help prevent heart attacks in the future. Dr. Andrew Freeman at National Jewish Health in Denver went further to say that people don’t really know the seriousness that silent heart attacks have. Dr. Freeman suggests that doctors need to spend more time working with patients toward prevention, since this study indicates that diagnosis sometimes may not happen at all.