Pre-Heart Attack Symptoms
You Should Know About
Heart attacks are potentially fatal, so it’s something worth taking pretty seriously. Often before a heart attack occurs, there are warning signs that could save your life if you know what to look for.
By being aware of what pre-heart attack symptoms are, it could possibly save yours or a loved one’s life.
By discovering what the causes of a heart attack are and what signs you should look for, you may possibly increase your risk of surviving a heart attack.
What Is A Heart Attack?
A heart attack is the result of blood supply to the heart being impeded, causing a lack of oxygen via the blood flow to the heart. This blockage can destroy heart muscle and potentially result in death if blood flow can not continue.
According to the CDC, around 750,000 Americans suffer a heart attack with nearly 1 in 3 of those people already having had one previously. (1)
Almost 1 in 5 people will have some form of heart failure in the USA.
Heart Attack Versus Cardiac Arrest
A heart attack is when there is a blockage causing the deprivation of vital oxygen to heart muscle tissue, but a cardiac arrest is when the heart actually stops beating which is the most dangerous of the two.
So, What Is A Heart Attack Exactly?
A heart attack is caused by lack of blood flow in the coronary arteries.
What Are The Causes Of A Heart Attack?
A heart attack is generally caused because of coronary heart disease, also known as CHD. Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries inside the heart called coronary arteries.
Plaque is extremely dangerous as it blocks the coronary arteries, ostensibly plugging them and potentially creating a heart attack. The build up of arterial plaque is known as atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis can possibly lead to a burst in the location of the plaque which can lead to a blood clot further increasing the chance of a heart attack.
There are other outlier causes of heart attacks such as spasmodic twitching, heart failure, and ventricular fibrillation.
So Is A Heart Attack Always From Blocked Arteries?
Most of the time, yes – but there are other causes.
What Are The Pre-Heart Attack Symptoms To Watch For?
Before a heart attack, there are things that you can be aware of that may tell you of an impending problem. These “pre-heart attack” symptoms are possible warning signs to let you know something may be conceivably wrong.
Signs you may be going to have a heart attack may include:
A Change In Your Heart Beat
A heart arrhythmia is when your heartbeat is inconsistent and skips periodically, which in itself isn’t always imminently dangerous, though it can be.
What Is Heart Arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia can be a warning sign of an impending heart attack or could be during one.
There are several possible causes of an arrhythmia the may include:
Heart Muscle Damage
Anomalous Thyroid Activity
Drugs & Stimulants
Abnormal Blood Pressure
Periods Of Stress
Cardiomyopathic Changes To Your Heart
Genetic Abnormalities & Inherited Traits
Though heart arrhythmias are not always dangerous, they should be seen to by a doctor.
What to look for?
Pain In The Chest
Rise In Pulse
If your heart beat accelerates unusually this could be a ventricular tachycardia which can be one of the most dangerous pre-heart attack symptoms to be aware of.
What Is Ventricular Tachycardia?
The cause of a ventricular tachycardia is when a heart beats too fast which can lead to the very ventricular fibrillation that can result in a heart attack.
Things that can cause ventricular tachycardia may include:
Damage From An Existing Heart Condition
Ischemic Heart Disease
Changes Occurring From Previous Heart Surgery
There are also genetic conditions such as tachycardia arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular that may be inherited, that can cause ventricular tachycardia.
What To Look For?
Pain In The Chest
Feeling Fainting Or Fainting
What’s The Take Away Here?
Changes in your heart rate and heart beat can be pre-heart attack symptoms.
General Fatigue & Exhaustion
This may be the result of congenital heart defects that have never been diagnosed and can also be cardiomyopathy. Both cardiomyopathic and congenital heart problems can result in weakened heart muscle tissue and a resultant physical weakness.
What Is Cardiomyopathy?
This is diseases of the heart where the muscle may change and become thicker, larger or stiffer than usual.
Cardiomyopathy weakens the heart and can significantly affect blood flow in the body.
What Are Congenital Heart Problems?
These are genetically inherited faults that may be apparent at birth or can develop later in life.
There are many potential problems resulting from congenital heart defects and some can result in the symptoms that may result in a heart attack or other heart issues.
What Sort Of Fatigue To Look For?
Basically, out of the ordinary tiredness and weakness may be warning signs, but an individual can slowly become fatigued and not really have noticed a gradual decline, so it can sometimes be harder to look for.
Exhaustion and fatigue that occur in an unusual manner might be easier to determine.
What’s Does This All Mean?
Internal problems that might be heart related can exhibit as fatigue.
Stomach & Abdominal Pain
This is a really deceptive warning sign of a heart attack because everyone seems to associate heart pain in the chest region, but in some cases, especially in biological females, the pain can be the result of arterial blockages manifesting as stomach pain further down in the abdomen than expected.
Not to be confused with intestinal ischemia (artery blockage causing reduced blood flow in the area of the intestines), the factors causing artery blockage in intestinal ischemia can coincide with heart problems.
Because stomach pain is generally not considered as dangerous as heart pain, many people experiencing heart attack symptoms that manifest as stomach pain, choose the see-how-it-goes approach to care which can be potentially life threatening if they really are having pre-heart attack symptoms.
In a study, 39% of women found they experiencing what they thought was indigestion before their heart attack. (2)
What To Look For?
Pain In The Abdomen
A Feeling Of Indigestion
Tightness & Pressure In The Stomach Area
Because of the almost unusual nature of these symptoms correlating with possible heart problems, they can be harder to associate correctly and require a more vigilant understanding of what to look for, especially in women.
What’s The Take Home Message Here?
Stomach pain might not be what you think, and it may be the result of heart issues.
There seems to be some serious correlation between people with anxiety and those who have heart attacks. On one hand, it can be theorized that the anxiety can cause the heart attack, but on the other, could it be that heart problems actually caused the anxiety or played a role in it?
It might be entirely possible.
While it’s been established that stress and anxiety can be risk factors in predicting possible heart problems, there’s a possibility that blood flow problems resulting from heart blockages, can create enough oxygen deprivation that it can lead to mood changes including anxiety. (3)
It’s also conceivable that those with existing heart problems may experience stress as the result of their cognizance of the danger – Further increasing risk in a negative feedback loop.
What To Look Out For?
It’s worth trying to reduce stress and find out if the root cause is health related. Stress has been proven to be a factor in multiple health issues including heart complications. (4)
Isn’t This Chicken Or the Egg Style Reasoning?
Yes. It’s exacerbated by the fact that it’s been hard for researchers to study, so it all relies on correlation.
(By the way, it’s the egg; always the egg)
Not all pre-heart attack symptoms are conventional or immediately synonymous with perceived heart problems. Most people wouldn’t think that stomach pain is actually a sign that you might be about to suffer or are in fact having a heart attack, so it can be very difficult for your average person to recognize.
Knowing what to look for or at the least having a better understanding, can increase an individual’s chances for survivability and as the saying goes, praemonitus praemunitus or “forewarned is forearmed”.
The information provided in this article is not done for the purpose of diagnosing, treating or curing an illness or ailment. If you have any concerns about your health, please visit a doctor.