Eric Bakker N.D.May 15, 2022

Tightness or pain in the chest, neck, back, or arms, as well as weariness, lightheadedness, an irregular heartbeat, and anxiety, are all signs and symptoms. of an impending heart attack.


Half With A Heart Attacks Have No Chest Pain

A staggering half of all heart attacks are silent. Did you know that in 2006 an amazing 89,400 New Zealanders suffered a heart attack and were hospitalised because of it? And over half of those who have previously suffered one or more heart attacks will have another one? What you almost certainly may not be aware of is that 25 percent of ALL heart attacks happen “silently,” without clear or obvious symptoms, regardless what Western developed country you live in. Even when symptoms do occur, they can be so mild or vague, most people don’t even realise it’s heart-related (unless they are made aware). Four things in particular are the most sinister signs of a silent heart attack.

Many who experience a silent heart attack do not even make it to the emergency room. Studies indicate around 1 out of every 2 women who suffer a heart attack feel no chest pain. They’re known as silent heart attacks. They’re often misdiagnosed or go untreated making them twice as deadly.

Incredible, but over half of women who experience a heart attack have “silent” heart attacks and may not even be aware they have had a heart attack. This is why regular blood pressure checks and blood tests are important, especially for women who are post-menopausal. do you know the impending signs and symptoms of a silent heart attack? Many think they could be having  indigestion or an “upset stomach” with a heart attack, pain in the left shoulder, jaw or arm – and it can be very subtle (you may think you have muscle strain. What about profuse sweating? These are all potential tell tale signs and symptoms. Worth checking out, it’s your life.

Sobering Heart Disease Statistics

  • Cardiovascular disease (heart, stroke and blood vessel disease) is still the leading cause of death in NZ, accounting for 40% of deaths annually.
  • Every 90 minutes a New Zealander dies from coronary heart disease (16 deaths a day). Many of these deaths are premature and preventable. It’s every 40 seconds in America.
  • Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and some cancers.
  • One in twenty adults have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease. That’s 161,000 adults and includes 118,500 with angina and 89,400 who have had a heart attack resulting in them being hospitalised.
  • Approximately one in three NZ adults are obese, and 1 in 10 children. 
  • One in five New Zealanders older than 15 smoke.
  • It is estimated that 5,000 people in NZ die prematurely from smoking each year – this equates to around 12 people a day dying from smoking.

Timing Is Important

Timing is the most critical factor for heart attack survival. There are plenty of statistics show a clear link between the delay in treatment and disability or death — the amount of time that elapses between the first sign of symptoms and receiving critical care.

A heart attack must be diagnosed by a doctor, it is a medical emergency. Tightness or pain in the chest, neck, back, or arms, as well as weariness, lightheadedness, an irregular heartbeat, and anxiety, are all symptoms. Atypical symptoms are more common in women than in males. Here is a more complete list:

Heart Attack Symptoms

  • Pain: Areas of pain include the area between the shoulder blades, the arm, the chest, the jaw, the left arm, and the upper abdomen. Shoulder soreness. Pain can be described as a clenched fist in the chest. Pain might occur even when you’re sleeping.
  • Body sensations: Dizziness, weariness, light-headed, clammy skin, perspiration, or sweating throughout the body.
  • Arm: stiffness or discomfort
  • Neck: stiffness or discomfort
  • Digestive: Heartburn, indigestion, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Nervous system:  anxiety, chest tightness, palpitations, or shortness of breath.

Signs Of A Heart Attack

That’s why knowing what to look for in terms of symptoms is critical, especially when they’re the kind that most people don’t think to associate with a heart attack. Here are the 4 key things to be on the lookout for:

  1. Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the centre of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  2. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body.  Can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath. Often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort.
  4. Other symptoms. May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.


[1] Hay, D. 2004. cardiovascular Disease in New Zealand. 2004.
A Summary of Recent Statistical Information. National Heart Foundation of New Zealand.
[2] Ministry of Health. 2008. Portrait of Health. Key Results of the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
[3] Ministry of Health. 2009. Implementing the ABC approch for Smoking Cessation. Framework and Work Programme. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

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