Of all the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevalent today, heart disease has emerged as the leading cause of mortality in India, claiming 2.8 million lives each year. By 2030, the country will lose 23 million lives to this disease.
While most people think that a heart attack produces symptoms such as chest pain, heaviness, breathlessness, pain in the left arm, etc., it should be noted not everyone exhibits the classic warning signals. According to a latest research paper, about 50 per cent of heart attacks appear without displaying any signs. Doctors say that since they do not produce any major symptoms, silent heart attacks can only be caught by an electrocardiogram at a later stage. Most patients are brought to the hospital at a very advanced stage, thus bringing down their chances of survival drastically.
Silent heart attack and its symptoms
Medical testing done at a later stage either as a routine or as a result of a recurrent episode, picks up evidence of a previous heart attack, which may have gone unnoticed due to lack of symptoms. The study showed that silent heart attacks increased fatality rates by 34 per cent. In many such cases, patients do not experience any major chest discomfort. The reason behind is the same as in most typical heart attacks –inadequate flow of blood to a part of the heart due to a blockage in the blood vessels, a condition medically referred to as ischemia. Some of the mechanisms by which this can happen are.
- A spontaneous tear in the arterial wall, known as Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)
- A sudden spasm that suppresses blood flow in the coronary artery
- Microvascular disease – a problem with the small blood vessels that affects the supply of blood to the heart.
While these conditions can affect both the sexes, young women are known to be at a greater risk. Greater awareness can help patients to recognize these and some of the subtle after-signs such as unusual breathing difficulties, sudden swelling or fluid retention in the legs, and extreme fatigue.
What can be done?
People, especially those at risk, including diabetics, patients with hypertension or those who have suffered from heart attacks previously must watch out for any new symptoms that may have developed recently and seek medical advice at once. Most lifestyle diseases including heart attacks can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
With the advent of technology bring cardiac care near to the home is now a possibility, many reliable and accurate devices are in the market that can help in keeping a close check on the heart health. SanketLife ECG device in an ideal home heart monitoring solution that can not only help in emergency situations but can also be used regularly. A regular monitoring can help in early detection and minimizing the risk of such cardiac events that are fatal but avoidable.
Advances in technology have ensured that there are devices available now that help in timely diagnosis and management of heart diseases. One can now check their vitals such as ECG in the convenience of their homes. Apart from this, it is important to lead an active and healthy life which is key to preventing any heart-related complications. Regular health check-ups and awareness about the symptoms can help you survive a silent heart attack. If you are at risk of heart diseases, consult your cardiologist at the earliest.
*Disclaimer: The article has been contributed by Rahul Rastogi, Co-founder and CEO, Agasta. The opinions expressed are the personal opinions of the author. Deccan Chronicle does not hold any responsibility and liability for the same.