Health Matters: Hidden Signs of a Heart Attack

When you think of a heart attack, you might only be thinking of a few common symptons

Most know if you’re having a heart attack, you want to get to the hospital right away.

But sometimes, people mistake their symptoms for something else.

Heart disease can happen to anyone but many times people don’t think it can happen to them.

Paying attention to your body could save your life.

Heart disease is a result of years of buildup of cholesterol and other substances.

“Over time, these areas form beginnings of narrowings and in some cases can result in blockages of the arteries that supply the heart muscle with its needed oxygen and nutrient supply,” said Dr. Sam Kappahan, who is an Interventional Cardiologist at Essentia Health.

Doctors say you probably won’t feel a difference when the disease first progresses.

It’s if the plaque keeps building…your body will see a problem.

“If it happens to the point where the plaque ruptures and becomes attractive to substances in the body that form blood clots, it can conform a heart attack,” said Dr. Kapphahn.

You might not necessarily know it right off the bat.

“Sometimes, we have people describe events that almost feel like the worst case of the flu they have ever had,” explained Dr. Kapphahn.

Just like Lynnette Anderson, who had a heart attack at the age of 47.

“I had been having the heart attack all weekend,” said Anderson.

But she thought it was her work around the house that was causing some pain.

“My left arm was aching. I would have rated it a four on a zero to ten scale,” Anderson explained.

That’s  just one example of a not so clear sign.

Another is feeling like you have heart burn that just won’t go away.

“When you think someone is having a heart attack, you think they would be clutching their chest and having a hard time breathing and that just was not the case,” she said.

Common symptoms include nausea, shortness of breath and pressure on your chest.

If something doesn’t feel right, Dr. Kappahan says it’s safest to get it checked out right away.

“That time that they spend not seeking medical attention can often have significant impacts both to their ability to survive the event, but also what their heart function will be after they receive treatment, ” said Dr.Kapphahn.

Next week, we talk about how you can lower your risk for heart disease.

You can hear Lynette’s full story at the Go Red for Women luncheon in Fargo on Thursday, February 2nd.

To get tickets, click here.