It is often believed that heart attacks happen without warning. But many people who have survived an attack have often described a variety of symptoms, sometimes, even days preceding the attack. Know these signs and protect yourself.

By Irish Mae S Silvestre (Contributor)

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Published: Sun 20 Jun 2004, 2:27 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:49 AM

¥ Most people who have suffered a heart attack have described feeling unusually tired (fatigue) and a general feeling of illness (malaise). These symptoms are more common among women.

¥ According to the National Institute of Health, fatigue, sleep disturbance and shortness of breath are generally the most frequent symptoms before an attack.

¥ Others include light-headedness, cold sweat, nausea, dizziness or pain in other parts of the body (arms, back neck, jaw or stomach) which can also be indications of an impending heart attack.

¥ It has been discovered that most attacks occur between 6 to 10 am due to the increase of adrenaline and blood thickness in the morning.

¥ How you deal with stress can also be an important deciding factor. A decade-long research has shown a higher risk among those who are depressed and have constant anxiety. Hostile and impatient people are 1.8 times more likely to develop hypertension.

¥ Heartburn-like symptoms can also be an obvious warning sign, but are often ignored or mistaken for indigestion.

¥ People who are obese or overweight - mostly those who carry the weight around the waist area - have a higher risk of a heart disease as excess weight means extra pressure on the heart.

¥ Family history of heart problems dramatically increases one's risk of a heart attack.

However, research has shown that 25 per cent of people experience "silent" heart attacks - ones that are only diagnosed after they have occurred and show no symptoms at all. To those who suspect that these symptoms are present, physicians often advise patients to call for help immediately and to take an aspirin while waiting for help to arrive.

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