Early treatment gives heart attack survivors the best possible prognosis. Being aware of the silent signs of a heart attack helps you ensure your aging loved one receives prompt attention during this common health emergency. Here are a few tips for identifying the silent signs of a heart attack.
Be Wary of Unusual Fatigue
People with heart conditions frequently report feeling unusually lethargic. Persistent lethargy occurs because restricted blood flow to the heart generates stress on the body that manifests as exhaustion. Many people write this fatigue off as being an off day or attribute it to coming down with a cold. Although there can be many reasons for unusual fatigue, this symptom should always be treated with seriousness.
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Watch Out for Pain in the Arm, Back, or Shoulders
Heart attacks tend to be portrayed in the media as someone clutching his or her chest or arm in agony. While a crushing pain in the chest is a common symptom of a heart attack, your loved one may experience more subtle pain signals. Due to the proximity of the nerves in the upper part of the body, pain from a heart attack can be felt in the arms, upper back and shoulders. The pain can also be in the form of general soreness that won’t go away.
Be Concerned About Shortness of Breath
A senior who is fit and active will notice when he or she is suddenly out of breath. Naturally, your loved one may feel a little breathless when exerting him or herself more than normal. However, heart attacks reduce the amount of oxygen that gets to the other bodily systems. When this happens, your parent may seem breathless for no reason.
Don’t Assume Nausea Is Normal
For some reason, heart attack symptoms sometimes appear as gastrointestinal distress. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain are especially common in women who are experiencing a heart attack. While it might seem silly to reach out to a physician over a bout of nausea, it’s better to err on the side of caution, especially if your loved one doesn’t have other symptoms of a stomach bug or gastrointestinal illness.
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Listen to Your Inner Voice
Prior to having a heart attack, many survivors report they had a sense of impending doom. When something is wrong with the body, a person’s mind often picks up on the fact long before being fully conscious of what is happening. If your loved one describes feeling as though something isn’t right, or you’re unable to let go of a feeling that he or she is acting strange, listen to what your mind is saying. Heart attacks can be diagnosed through a few simple tests that can either allay your fears or give your loved one prompt treatment that saves his or her life.
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