We often picture a heart attack as grimacing from the extreme chest pain and clutching our chest but few know that heart attacks are silent too and Hindi television star Sidharth Shukla’s sudden death has just highlighted it further. The Bigg Boss 13 winner died on Thursday, said an official at the Cooper Hospital in Mumbai and fans are in an obvious numb state while industry friends pour in tributes.
As many are still processing the death of the 40-year-old star, it is important to be informed about the symptoms of a heart attack. Men and women may experience it in different ways hence, making others recognise the signs of this lifestyle disease are crucial too.
Different heart attack symptoms in men and women:
A heart attack occurs when the blood flow, which brings oxygen to the heart muscle, is reduced or obstructed due to the blocking or severely narrowing of the arteries that supply the heart. The signs of it may include chest pain, breathlessness, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, upper body pain or dizziness.
In an interview over call with Hindustan Times, Dr Tilak Suvarna, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, shared that the heart attack symptoms in women may be different. “A majority of heart patients, both men and women, would have chest pain during a stroke but in women we do see non-typical symptoms.”
He added, “In women the symptoms could be shortness of breath or it could be vomiting or nausea or it could be just sweating or it could be pain which is not in the centre of the chest but may be on the left side or in the hands.”
To make a clinical impression, he revealed that the cardiologists observe what is the likelihood of these symptoms, whether they are general pains or those erupting due to heart problems. “If the likelihood is moderate to high, then we do an ECG or blood test. So ECG would tell us if this pain is cardiac or not and there are some blood tests which will tell us whether this patient is having a heart attack or not,” Dr Tilak elaborated.
In case of a low likelihood of the pain being cardiac in nature, “we do not subject them to any more tests. At the most, an ECG.”
How to identify heart attack signs and symptoms at home?
Due to Covid-19 and its similar symptoms that include shortness of breath and pain in lungs, many people ignore the signs of a heart attack since they over lap. Contracting the novel coronavirus is known to affect the heart.
Dr Tilak said, “Either Covid-19 could make the heart weak or block the arteries of the heart leading to a heart attack or it could cause some rhythm abnormalities. Patients may not be able to identify whether these symptoms are cardiac or not. So the best is to take a doctor’s opinion and based on the history that the patient describes and from the results of an examination like an ECG, the doctor may be able to come to a diagnosis or would be able to differentiate the chest pain. On any of the symptoms, the patients should immediately get themselves evaluated.”
According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 17.9 million people died from Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in 2016, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke.
As per WHO, individuals at risk of CVD may demonstrate raised blood pressure, glucose, and lipids as well as overweight and obesity. Identifying those at highest risk of CVDs and ensuring they receive appropriate treatment can prevent premature deaths.