Don’t Ignore These Signs of a Heart Attack

Don’t Ignore These Signs of a Heart Attack

If you think there’s no way a person wouldn’t recognize they’re having a heart attack, you may be surprised. Symptoms of a heart attack are sometimes vague or don’t seem related to the heart at all. 

The experts at Heart & Vascular Institute, with four Michigan locations, frequently hear from patients who delayed going to the hospital because they didn’t think they were experiencing a problem like a heart attack.

In this post, we talk about symptoms people don’t always recognize. 

Silent heart attack 

A heart attack that occurs without obvious symptoms is called a silent heart attack. Unfortunately, the lack of symptoms doesn’t mean less damage to the heart muscle. 

As with any heart attack, a silent heart attack happens because the blood flow to the heart is blocked. The blockage causes scarring and damage to the heart muscle.

People sometimes aren’t aware they’ve had a heart attack until they have an MRI or EKG and their doctor discovers the damage. 

Nonspecific symptoms

Sometimes, the symptoms felt during a heart attack could reasonably be attributed to something else. For example, it’s common to feel fatigued. But you might also feel fatigued if you didn’t sleep well, you’re coming down with a cold, or you just had a rough day at work.

Here are some other symptoms potentially related to a heart attack that aren’t obvious.


You’ve probably heard that some people think they have heartburn when they’re actually having a heart attack. Indigestion can be a symptom of a heart attack, especially if accompanied by other symptoms. 

Feeling like you have a pulled muscle

Chest pain is the classic symptom of a heart attack, but sometimes that pain feels more like a pulled muscle than anything else. Pay attention if you feel like you’ve pulled a muscle in your chest or upper back but haven’t done anything to cause it. It could be a heart attack symptom.

Weakness or lightheadedness

If you feel suddenly weak or lightheaded, you may be experiencing a heart attack. Of course, many other things can cause those feelings as well. It’s when you feel more than one nonspecific symptom at a time that should concern you. 

Cold, clammy sweat

Suddenly breaking out in a cold sweat could be a symptom of a heart attack. A clammy, cold sweat often accompanies weakness and feeling lightheaded. 


A general feeling of discomfort or unease is a common symptom. You may also feel specific discomfort in your jaw, shoulder, or neck. Some people feel a mild pain in their throat. 

Shortness of breath

If you feel like you can’t quite catch your breath, but you’ve been sitting still, you may be having a heart attack. 

Learn about your personal risk

If you’ve had some of these symptoms recently, or you’re concerned about your personal risk of heart attack, schedule an appointment by phone or online today. Heart & Vascular Institute is located conveniently in Dearborn, Detroit, Southfield, and Wayne, Michigan.


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