Many people are aware of the common signs of a heart attack. Chest discomfort, shooting pains through the right arm, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting are all widely regarded as red flags. When we and our loved ones experience these potentially life threatening symptoms, we know that seeking out medical attention is imperative to our recovery – but what happens when we don’t know that we’re experiencing a heart attack? There are many signs and symptoms of heart attacks that are difficult to detect and classify. These symptoms are usually attributed to minor heart attacks, or something that is commonly referred to as a silent heart attack.

Episodes of heart attacks that go unnoticed are called silent heart attacks. These episodes may later be detected during routine health screenings involving EKGs, if not diagnosed shortly after or during the event itself.

According to a recent study conducted by the journal Circulation, nearly half of all heart attacks are silent. Men experience more silent heart attacks than women, but their experiences are less fatal than those suffered from by women. Women are more likely to die from heart attacks in any classification.  Heart Disease is the number one killer or women in the United States, and it is important that everyone takes this matter seriously. Signs of silent heart attacks may present themselves as mild bouts of discomfort, but we need to educate ourselves on all symptoms in order to stop preventable death.

Listen to what your body is telling you. Silent heart attacks are known to cause fatigue, soreness of the jaw, and pain similar to that of indigestion. Maintenance of heart health through diet and regular exercise can help you avoid suffering from a silent heart attack, but you should still attend regular check-ups in order to ensure your body is healthy. If you feel as though you may have suffered from a silent heart attack, take action immediately and schedule an appointment where you can get an EKG and a potential treatment plan. Vigilance is the best defense against heart disease and other long-term effects of heart attacks.

Next time you feel that something is off or functioning less than optimally, don’t hesitate to call a doctor. It’s easy to forget to check in with our bodies in the midst of bus schedules and life events, but your health should remain a priority. Early detection of heart attacks is the most important defense against a second.