How long can you have symptoms of a heart attack before you have a heart attack and what are silent heart attacks?

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3 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.

It varies from person to person. So, if you have any symptoms, you need to go to a doctor.

A silent heart attack is a heart attack that has few, if any, symptoms or has symptoms you don't recognize as a sign of a heart attack. You might not have chest pain or shortness of breath, which are typically associated with a heart attack.

People who have a silent heart attack might later recall that they had indigestion, the flu or a strained chest muscle. But a silent heart attack, like any heart attack, involves blockage of blood flow to your heart and possible damage to the heart muscle.

The risk factors for a silent heart attack are the same as those for a heart attack with symptoms. Risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • Excess weight
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Prior heart attack
  • Tobacco use

Having a silent heart attack puts you at a greater risk of having another heart attack, which could be deadly. Having another heart attack also increases your risk of complications, such as heart failure.

There are no tests to determine your potential for having a silent heart attack. But if you have risk factors, your doctor should evaluate and treat them to reduce your chance of having a silent heart attack. The only way to tell if you've had a silent heart attack is to have imaging tests, such as an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram. These tests can reveal changes that signal a heart attack.

If you think that you've had a silent heart attack, talk to your doctor. A review of your symptoms and health history and a physical exam can help your doctor decide if you need more tests.

Hi, Lucy, it varies a lot. Usually it may take 10 min to 30 min. But it really differs among different people. You can not estimate since different people's arteries are different. We only know that you need to go to a doctor ASAP if you are feeling an heart attack.

A silent heart attack indicates that patients experience heart attack without any abnormal feelings. It might happen during patients' some activities. People may have transient discomfort but they didn't realize it's an heart attack. Since the ischemia (heart attack) happen in a less dangerous site, it would not cause any functional abnormalities of the heart. Thus they can continue to live a normal life after a silent heart attack.
Off and on for a few weeks, my uncle had been suffering from insomnia and hair loss, but he didn’t pay much attention to it. He thought it was only because of his irregular diet. But then, he began to have pain in his chest and sometimes he felt it was hard to breath. Out of worry, my aunt forced him to go to hospital and see the doctor. It turned out to be the symptoms of heart attacks. The whole process lasted for 4 weeks. The whole family was grateful for the sensible action of my aunt. But for her caution, my uncle may have very dangerous situation. It’s also lucky for him not to have the silent heart attack. On account of his carelessness, he definitely won’t go to hospital without any worrying symptoms.
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