The symptoms of a silent heart attack can vary but may include fatigue, shortness of breath and heartburn-like pain, according to the Cleveland Clinic. People often mistake these symptoms for indigestion or other common ailments.
Other symptoms of silent heart attacks can include muscle pain or discomfort in the jaw, throat or neck areas, reports the American Heart Association. These symptoms are often so mild and non-specific that people do not realize they have had a heart attack. People who have had silent heart attacks only find out weeks later when they visit their doctors and have an MRI or EKG that detects damage to the heart.
People with certain underlying health conditions may be more likely to have a silent heart attack, according to Mayo Clinic. These conditions include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. People with a family history of heart disease may be at a higher risk, as are people who use tobacco or do not exercise.
Although there are some conflicting studies as of 2015, there is some evidence that women are more likely to suffer from silent heart attacks than men, the American Heart Association reports. Doctors often misdiagnose women's heart attacks as indigestion, anxiety attacks or other conditions.