Important Facts about Silent Myocardial Ischemia

Silent myocardial ischemia

Myocardial ischemia is basically an imbalance between the consumption and production of ATP, that is adenosine triphosphate. It leads to the depletion of ATP resulting cardiac problems. Ischemia occurs when oxygen rich blood is restricted from flowing to a part of the body. Cardiac ischemia, hence is the lack of proper blood flow as well as oxygen flow to the heart muscles of a person’s body. A person may have to face such a cardiac problem whenever an artery becomes very narrowed or blocked for a short span of time. This prevent the necessary blood and oxygen flow from reaching the heart. If this ischemia gets too severe it can result in a heart attack.

Silent myocardial ischemia is a condition wherein ischemia occurs without any prior symptoms. It may just feel like a normal chest discomfort; but in reality it leads to silent myocardial ischemia all of a sudden. Silent ischemia also disturbs the heart’s rhythm. Abnormal rhythms like ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia can cause fainting and also sudden cardiac death. Hence, it is important to know about it and be careful and avoid this problem.

Causes of silent myocardial ischemia:

There are many causes of silent myocardial ischemia. One should take care to detect it as soon as possible. If you smoke, drink alcohol, have a regular intake of high cholesterol food; then it shouldn’t be surprising to face this problem as myocardial ischemia is mainly caused due to these factors. Genes are responsible at a certain level but one’s lifestyle also affects the cardiac medical situations of a person. Age, diabetes, lack of exercising and fitness, obesity and high blood pressure can all lead to ischemia. Cardiac ischemia is most common from among the other types of ischemia. A person should really take care to limit intake of tobacco, alcohol and cholesterol to avoid these problems.

Signs and symptoms:

Silent myocardial ischemia has no symptoms due to which many people are absolutely unaware of their medical health. However, if there is acute chest pain or any kind of discomfort, it is possible that the person is suffering silent myocardial ischemia. Other symptoms may also include indigestion, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, throat or neck discomfort and vomiting. Mostly, people might consider these signs normal. But silent ischemia starts with such normal symptoms which may get severe with time and in my opinion it is really essential to go in for a early diagnosis if a person is facing any of the above symptoms.

Elderly people suffering ischemia:

Elderly people having myocardial ischemia may have a lot of troubles as detection of this medical condition is very difficult. The symptoms in aged people are so atypical which could lead to misdiagnosing. Due to limited physical exertion of elderly persons, they may not experience angina. Difficult breathing is the common symptom of silent myocardial ischemia in this age group. Ischemia may occur in the form of back or shoulder pain and doctors may misdiagnose it as a degenerative joint problem. At times, chest pain is not present at all even if a person had the ischemic problem, but it gets severe and produces diastolic dysfunction. Therefore, doctors should check any elderly person who is suffering from any kind of back pain. Silent myocardial ischemia is very prominent in the old age group.

Diagnosis and treatment:

Immediate diagnosis becomes a must in order to reduce and control the future cardiac problems. Silent myocardial ischemia definitely has no specific symptoms but it is advisable to go for ischemia tests even for a normal chest pain and fatigue. An exercise or a stress test can easily show the lack of blood flow and oxygen in the body of a person with silent myocardial ischemia, as it will lead to excessive fatigue and insufficient flow along the coronary arteries.

Once it is identified, the aim of the treatment is improving the flow of oxygen and blood to all the parts of the body, especially the heart effectively and smoothly. Medications includes aspirin, blood thinning agents and medicines which relax blood vessels and improves heart rhythm. Oxygen is given to the patient to increase its flow and painkillers are also used at times to reduce pain. But, one should keep in mind to avoid smoking, alcohol and control hypertension because prevention is always better than cure.

Clara, born in 1972, married and mother of three, lives in Greenville, MS. She is a prenatal course instructor and lactation consultant. She enjoys being outdoors walking, gardening, or spending time with family.

1 Comment

  1. When signs and symptoms occur, the most common is chest pressure or pain, typically on the left side of the body (angina pectoris). Other signs and symptoms — which might be experienced more commonly by women, older people and people with diabetes — include: Neck or jaw pain. Shoulder or arm pain


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