New research has shown that heart attacks are not always sudden and unexpected. Heart attacks are usually thought to occur suddenly, but this is rarely the case. In addition to one complication that you were not aware of, there are many warning signs that can also indicate this danger in advance.
"The reality is people can notice subtle heart attack symptoms months before an actual event occurs," says Sutter Zi-Jian Xu, M.D., a cardiologist in the Sutter Health network. Research presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Dallas provides an overview of the most common symptoms that precede a heart attack in men.
Among them, 5 specific ones were identified:
- chest pain
- heavy breathing
- heart beating
In almost 80 percent of cases, the symptoms of cardiac arrest appear between four weeks and an hour before it occurs. There were 56% of respondents who reported chest pain, 13% experienced difficulty breathing, and 4% reported dizziness, fainting, or palpitations as symptoms of their condition.
Moreover, 53% of the participants in the survey reported symptoms before they suffered a cardiac arrest. It should be noted, however, that this study has some substantial limitations. Firstly, according to the findings, any middle-aged man suffering from chest pains or shortness of breath could be having a heart attack, but this is not the case.
The study also did not take into account the prevalence of symptoms among the population of interest. Suppose for example, in a cohort of one million middle-aged men, how many of them will experience chest pain or shortness of breath in the course of a month? If 50,000 men develop heart disease symptoms, how many of them will actually have a heart attack as a result of the symptoms? Not all 50,000 of them, of course.
Despite this, what the results suggest is that it is very crucial to pay attention to the symptoms that may precede a heart attack. In addition, it is imperative to always consult a doctor in case of suspicious symptoms.