Warning Signs of a Mild Heart Attack

A mild heart attack can have surprisingly few symptoms—a factor that often causes this condition to go largely unnoticed by the sufferer. Whereas a typical full-blown heart attack has some very strong symptoms that are hard to deny, the symptoms that are associated with a mild heart attack are so interchangeable with other conditions that the signs are often blown off as something much more “common.” If you’ve experienced some strange symptoms lately that you feel might be your heart’s way of shooting a red flare in warning, then keep reading to learn about the symptoms most often associated with this type of heart attack and ways that it can be prevented in the future.


The symptoms of a mild heart attack, again, are so common that they are often shrugged off as being a bad case of indigestion or an upset stomach. Symptoms that have been reported in cases including both men and women include nausea, pain in the upper body, particularly around the area just to the left of where the rib cage splits, sweating, squeezing or tightening sensations in the chest, fast and shallow breathing, loss of energy, confusion, sweating, and dizziness. As you can see, this list of symptoms includes sensations that go hand in hand with many other conditions; however when they are put together, and especially with significant chest tightening, they become a potentially lethal collection of symptoms.

Women, on the other hand, appear to exhibit additional symptoms. This could just be due to the facts that women are more likely to go to the doctor than men and also that women might simply be more perceptive and openly descriptive of their symptoms. Problems like pain in the neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, and jaw as well as vomiting, a feeling akin to heartburn or acid reflux, exhaustion, and clammy skin have often been reported in cases involving women.

Possible Causes and Risks

A blood clot can develop in your body as needed especially in response to arterial damage. In most cases it just travels around the vast network of blood vessels until it naturally breaks down. A mild heart attack is usually caused by a buildup of fatty plaque on the wall of an artery. The fatty accumulation can pop and when it does it bleeds into the artery. The body’s natural response is to clot the blood which, inside an artery, means that the clot is now serving as an obstacle for blood flow to the heart.

Another possible cause of a mild heart attack, although much less common, is inflammation that targets the arteries. Inflammation is a defensive strategy employed by the immune system. Whenever an infectious organism is detected in the body or a significant amount of damage occurs, the tissues become swollen, increase in temperature, and turn red in color. This is the result of excess blood cells being sent to the area. Some bacterial and viral organisms can cause the formation of sores, such as herpes. Even helicobacter pylori, bacteria famous for causing ulcer formation in the stomach, can trigger inflammation so widespread that it affects the blood vessels. When arteries succumb to signs of inflammation, swelling is one of the primary concerns as it could restrict blood flow to the heart. In cases where bacteria and/or viruses are concerned, other symptoms will likely include fever, slow or fast heartbeat, drastic change in blood pressure, and even organ malfunctions. There is little that can be done to prevent these infections except for practicing good hygiene; washing your hands regularly and staying away from friends, co-workers, or family members that have a communicable illness are good places to start.

Seeking Treatment

If you believe that you may have suffered a mild heart attack or if you’re just worried about your heart’s health in general then you should make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. If, after a series of simple tests, your doctors suspects that you may have suffered some form of heart attack then he or she will be able to help you evaluate the possible causes behind the occurrence, such as dietary, stress, and underlying health factors. From there, you can work out a plan to not only rectify any damage that has been done but also work on practicing good health to prevent a heart attack from happening in the future.

Preventative Measures

When it comes to a mild heart attack, the silver lining is that a full-blown heart attack, complete with long-term damage, was avoided and there is still time to make positive changes in your life to prevent a relapse of this condition. There are several routes that you can explore that may be open to tweaking, such as your diet, physical activity, stress levels, underlying medical conditions, or recreational drug use. Certain medications may help to prevent this incident from recurring, such as aspirin or prescription blood thinners. Ibuprofen, naproxen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications work well to reduce inflammation and can be very helpful if you are fighting off an infection.

While a mild heart attack should most definitely be taken seriously, you shouldn’t resign yourself to “heart problems.” It’s never too late to make a positive change and to promote good health by monitoring your diet, exercising regularly, and taking care of any influential medical conditions that you may have, such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.