- With Mayo Clinic cardiologist
Martha Grogan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Martha Grogan, M.D.Martha Grogan, M.D.
Dr. Martha Grogan is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. She is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and received her medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School. Dr. Grogan has been on staff at Mayo Clinic since 1995 and is a consultant in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and is an assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School.
Dr. Grogan is a noninvasive cardiologist specializing in heart failure, adult congenital heart disease and echocardiography. She has witnessed firsthand the importance of patient education in the treatment of diseases such as congestive heart failure and is excited about the tremendous educational opportunities now available through the Internet.
Risk factors (2)
- Calcium supplements: A risk factor for heart attack?
- Silent heart attack: What are the risks?
Tests and diagnosis (1)
- Ejection fraction: What does it measure?
- Vitamin D deficiency: Can it cause high blood pressure?
- Omega-6 fatty acids: Can they cause heart disease?
Treatments and drugs (1)
- Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?
Lifestyle and home remedies (1)
- Grass-fed beef: What are the heart-health benefits?
- Heart attack prevention: Should I avoid secondhand smoke?
- Healthy heart for life: Avoiding heart disease
- Fasting diet: Can it improve my heart health?
- see all in Prevention
Silent heart attack: What are the risks?
What is a silent heart attack?
from Martha Grogan, M.D.
A silent heart attack is a heart attack that has few, if any, symptoms. You may have never had any symptoms to warn you that you've developed a heart problem, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. Some people later recall their silent heart attack was mistaken for indigestion, nausea, muscle pain, or a bad case of the flu.
The risk factors for having a silent heart attack are the same as having a heart attack with symptoms. The risk factors include:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Family history of heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Lack of exercise
- Being overweight
Having a silent heart attack puts you at a greater risk of having another heart attack, which could be fatal. Having another heart attack also increases your risk of complications, such as heart failure.
If you wonder if you've had a silent heart attack, talk to your doctor. A review of your symptoms, health history and a physical exam can help your doctor decide if more tests are necessary. The only way to tell if you've had a silent heart attack is to have additional tests, such as an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram or other imaging tests. These tests can reveal changes that signal you've had a heart attack.Next question
Ejection fraction: What does it measure?
- Silent ischemia and ischemic heart disease. American Heart Association. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4720. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Kehl DW, et al. Prognostic value of electrocardiographic detection of unrecognized myocardial infarction in persons with stable coronary artery disease: Data from the Heart and Soul Study. Clinical Research in Cardiology. 2011;100:359.
- Kwong RY, et al. Impact of unrecognized myocardial scar detected by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging on event-free survival in patients presenting with signs or symptoms of coronary artery disease. Circulation. 2006;113:2733.
- Kim H, et al. Unrecognized non-Q-wave myocardial infarction: Prevalence and prognostic significance in patients with suspected coronary disease. PLoS Medicine. 2009;6:e1000057. http://www.plosmedicine.org/home.action. Accessed March 31, 2011.