An ideal blood pressure would remain between 90/60mmHG and 120/80mmHG; anything above 140/90mmHg is high blood pressure. There are conditions where your heart suffers an attack and yet can remain unrecognised. Known as ‘silent heart attack’, such developments can become more fatal than an actual attack as it does not make you aware of the increased risk of heart attack in future. Also known as silent myocardial infarction (SMI), it accounts for 45 per cent of total heart attacks and affect more men than women. A heart attack is a medical emergency. Researchers have found that the risk of having a silent attack is associated with hypertension – it is one of the most prominent risk factors that may facilitate heart attack. It will not be wrong to suggest that even if anyone do not have the other risk factors such as consumption of tobacco, diabetes, obesity, or cholesterol, these men and women are at an increased risk of getting a silent heart attack as they age.
High blood pressure and silent heart attack
In case of a silent attack, the unidentified scarring and damage to the heart puts the person at greater risk of other heart problems. In absence of treatment, the condition may continue disrupting blood flow to the heart, so the impact could potentially be greater. What we eat and how we use the calories we take make a lot of difference in maintaining our heart health. Our modern, urban lifestyle makes way for food that is high in calorie but low in nutrient due to increased amount of refined rice, flour, sugar, salt, and trans-fat. Besides, most of people live a deskbound life with low physical movement and exercises. As a result, there is a sustain build-up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances in the arteries that gradually narrows the arteries. This causes excess strain on the arteries resulting in its damage, a development known as atherosclerosis. As plaques harden the arteries, blood clots become more likely. If blood clots or plaque block the artery, the flow of blood through the heart muscle is interrupted, depriving the muscle of oxygen and nutrients. The resultant damage or death of part of the heart muscle causes a heart attack.
Warning signs and preventive measures
The symptoms can be mild and brief, and hence, many often confuse them for regular discomfort or another less serious problem, and ignore them. It is not true that silent heart attacks are asymptomatic – some people have symptoms, but they just do not recognize the sensations coming from their heart. The two most common problems reported are indigestion and muscle pain, where the actual cause is reduced blood flow to the heart. People may also experience nausea or excessive sweating during a heart attack which are categorised as atypical symptoms. In case you have any of the risk factors for heart attack, seek immediate medical attention if you experience one or more of the following:
— Discomfort in the centre of the chest for several minutes, or intermittent. It can feel like an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or pain.
— Discomfort in other upper-body, such as arms, the neck, the back, the jaw, or the stomach.
— Shortness of breath before or during discomfort.
— Breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling nauseated or lightheaded.
Prevention mechanisms involve health screening to identify any existing artery blockages, and getting rid of any risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking through dietary and lifestyle changes. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), an eating plan to lower or control high blood pressure, can be a good starting point. Besides, just 20 minutes of exercise a day can significantly reduce your risk since sedentary increases the risk of death almost 3 times compared to being overweight but active.