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We all know the signs of a typical heart attack – pain in your chest and left arm – but can a heart attack hit you without you knowing it? Let’s find out.

While we typically associate heart attacks with dramatic events that involve clutching your arm and dropping to the ground, that’s not how all heart attacks present themselves. In fact, some only produce mild symptoms and others present no symptoms at all.

“The true incidence of silent heart attacks is not known, since by definition they go unnoticed,” says Dr. Michelle O’Donoghue, a senior investigator with the TIMI Study Group, an academic research group that studies cardiovascular disease at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “However, estimates have placed them anywhere from 20% to 60% of all heart attacks.”

Experiencing A Silent Heart Attack

Can a Heart Attack Hit You Without You Knowing It?The only way that some people learn that they’ve had a heart attack is after they undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG) or stress test that shows signs of heart damage. While the heart attack may be “silent,” this does not mean it doesn’t cause injury. In fact, it increases your risk of heart failure and another heart attack.

If you find out you’ve had one, then you need to take the necessary steps to prevent another one and manage your risk factors. According to O’Donoghue, you’ll have a better chance of identifying a heart attack if you know the less common symptoms of one.

“I think the greatest misconception about a heart attack is that the chest discomfort is ‘painful’ – in fact, most patients describe the chest discomfort as a heaviness or squeezing sensation that can be quite mild in nature,” says O’Donoghue. “Women may also experience more atypical symptoms, like shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, and tingling in the left arm or jaw.”

Controlling Your Risk Factors

“Since heart attack symptoms can be missed, it is important to continue regular follow-up with your primary care provider,” says O’Donoghue. “If a silent heart attack is identified, this may lead to more testing and appropriate treatments to help ensure another one doesn’t occur and that the heart muscle is protected.”

You can also take control of your risk factors by adopting healthy lifestyle changes. For example, you can improve your diet, quit smoking, and start to exercise regularly. All of these changes can benefit your health even if you’ve already experienced a silent heart attack.

The Outlook

L-arginine PlusWhile a silent heart attack may hit you without your knowledge, knowing the less common symptoms and getting regular checkups can help you identify one. It’s also important that you make heart-healthy decisions in your life to reduce the risk of experiencing one in the first place.

In addition to eating healthily, exercising regularly, and avoiding unhealthy habits, you can get an extra boost with L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients promote circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and more. Give your heart the support it deserves by talking with your doctor about silent heart attacks, adopting healthy habits, and taking L-arginine Plus.

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