1. Any chest/upper abdominal discomfort is “gas”.
No! If you or your near and dear ones develop any such symptom, get an immediate cardiac evaluation; it might be a major heart attack, which can be life threatening.
2. All heart attack patients have chest pain.
No!!! Many of them, especially diabetics, elderly and women do not complain of chest pain. Other commonly seen symptoms include sudden feeling of uneasiness, tightness in chest, sudden onset or worsening of breathlessness, left arm/back pain, upper abdominal pain/discomfort giddiness and loss of senses. You need an expert to diagnose it timely and provide the best treatment. Unfortunately, major heart attack can also present for the first time as sudden cardiac death.
3. Heart attack occurs in elderly persons.
No, times have changed. We; especially in India are seeing more and more young persons with heart attack. They are frequently diagnosed late as neither the patient nor the general practitioner thinks that what is happening could be a heart attack!
4. Women have protection from heart attack.
Partially true in the sense that till a woman attains menopause, estrogen offers protection. But after menopause, the risk is the same. Also, heart disease (coronary artery disease – block in blood vessels of the heart) in females is more tricky for diagnosis, and even treatment!!!! So make sure you / your loved ones are in safe hands.
5. If ECG is normal, there is no heart attack/disease.
Although many heart diseases can be diagnosed with ECG alone, many a time it is not sufficient. Even in a major heart attack, the initial ECG might be normal! Always get yourselves thoroughly evaluated by a cardiologist if you have any symptoms related to heart disease – chest pain/breathing difficulty/transient loss of consciousness.
If you have any doubts, feel free to discuss. Overview about common heart diseases/treatment is available on www.drindrakuladhipati.in