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Signs and Symptoms of a Mild Heart Attack

Signs and Symptoms of a Mild Heart Attack

Heart attack symptoms vary from patient to patient, and a person, who has previously encountered one can also experience different symptoms in the subsequent one. Hence, knowing the early warning signs of a heart attack is always better for its quick identification and treatment.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Little-known Truth

It has been revealed that approximately 1.1 million Americans suffer a heart attack, among which 460,000 are calamitous. Also, most of the deaths accounted are due to ventricular fibrillation of the heart that takes place even before the victim makes it to the emergency room.

The most common reason for a mild heart attack is a minor blockage in the artery or accumulation of plaque or fatty deposits inside the coronary arteries. This plaque buildup in the walls of the artery results in the formation of a blood clot. This blood clot partially blocks or interrupts the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, which sometimes, damages the heart muscles and leads to a mild heart attack (unstable angina).
Signs and Symptoms

Although chest pain is considered as the most common symptom of a heart attack, not all of them begin like that. Studies show that almost one-third of the patients never experience chest pain. On the other hand, there are some, who do not show any symptoms at all.
Here are the common signs to watch out for:
  • Nausea and severe anxiety
  • Chest discomfort ranging from a feeling of tightness to aching, or a squeezing sensation in the center of the chest, which may last for a few minutes and can be intermittent
  • Weakness and sudden loss of consciousness
  • Lack of clear and orderly thought, or behavior
  • Body pain, especially pain in the upper body parts
  • Blurry vision in one eye
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble with speaking or understanding
  • Cold sweating, feeling lightheaded, or experiencing a sense of panic or doom
  • Sudden loss of balance while walking
Women may experience other symptoms, such as:
  • Pain in the neck, stomach, shoulder, jaw, teeth, upper back, and/or abdomen
  • Coughing and vomiting
  • Heartburn and clammy skin
  • Indigestion
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Abnormal fatigue and exhaustion

Some of the causes for an unstable angina are as follows:
  • Diet low in nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Low oxygen levels in the blood
  • Excessively fast heart rate
  • Overexposure to thyroid hormone
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unnecessary tension or anxiety
  • Anemia
  • Lack of exercise
  • Age factor

» A mild heart attack can be distinguished from stable angina, just by analyzing the pattern produced during the ECG (electrocardiogram) testing.
» If the ECG graph consists of an ST-segment elevation region, then the patient is diagnosed with a typical heart attack, and if there is a non ST-segment elevation region in the graph, then the patient is diagnosed with a mild heart attack.
» Another way of diagnosing a mild attack is by conducting a simple blood test. If the test indicates the presence of two proteins -- troponins and creatine kinase MB (CK-MB), then the patient must have suffered a mild heart attack.
» Some other non-invasive tests include echocardiogram, ultrasound of the heart, nuclear imaging, angiogram, or X-ray of the coronary arteries.

» There are different types of medication that can be given to treat a mild heart attack. The most commonly given medication is nitroglycerin that widens and opens the blood vessels and helps the blood and oxygen to reach the heart more comfortably.
» Some other anti-ischemic drugs, like beta blockers or calcium channel blockers are also given, as they reduce the risk of chest pain.
» The patient may also be told to take an aspirin once a day, as it minimizes inflammation and prevents blood clots from developing. Along with this, the doctor may also prescribe Plavix -- a blood-thinning medication.
Keep in Mind

» To prevent heart attacks, one should exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet rich in fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and vegetables to maintain a balance between both cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
» The above-mentioned symptoms are noticed by a patient well in advance (days or weeks ahead), and ignoring them can be life-threatening. Hence, always call emergency services or 911 for them to try out a variety of treatments and medicines before you reach the hospital.
» Knowing and acknowledging the signs of a mild heart attack can save a person from the risk of having a full-blown heart attack.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that this HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only. It is neither intended, nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.