A 41-year-old member asked:

Is it possible to have a heart attack without any warning signs? symptoms of heart attack (dizziness, anxiety, cough, fainting, etc) are very similar to other conditions, how can i figure out if those are signs of heart attack?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine 39 years experience
Chest : Chest pressure, shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating are the most common symptoms of a heart attack. Some people will describe it as feeling like indigestion, or may have aching in the arms, jaw, shoulder, or upper back. The likelihood of a heart attack increases as the number of symptoms increase, and the probability is also higher in someone over the age of forty. These symptoms are also more worrisome in people who smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease. However, it is quite possible to have a heart attack with few or mild symptoms, and while less common, they can occur in people under the age of forty. Unfortunately, many other conditions can produce symptoms that are similar or identical to a heart attack, including heartburn, panic attacks, collapsed lungs, and pulmonary embolism. It may be impossible to distinguish a heart attack from other conditions without testing, even for a seasoned physician. For this reason, you should seek care immediately if these symptoms occur. Unexplained fainting should always be checked out promptly. Similarly, chest discomfort or difficulty breathing that lasts more than 10-15 minutes is grounds for going to the nearest emergency room.
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Dr. Louis Cady
Psychiatry 34 years experience
Heart attack or not: Yes, it's possible to have a heart attack without any warning signs. In some cases, people have them, never have a diagnosis, and have the old "infarct" found later on a subsequent ekg. Go to the er sooner rather than later if you think you are having one. Age, male status, smoking, and excessively high lipid levels (including - elevated homocysteine and c-react protein) = other risk factors.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Jun 1, 2019


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