The effects of a mild heart attack can be vague and transient, or permanent, resulting in more severe side effects. Many patients do not realize they have had a heart attack until they see a doctor for unresolved vague symptoms. The severity of effects of a mild heart attack also depends on the overall health of a patient.
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The heart muscle is weakened after a heart attack. The heart may not be able to pump blood to the rest of the body as efficiently. While the muscle recovers, simple activities of daily living like showering, dressing, grocery shopping or going up a flight of stairs may make you feel very tired. Donna D. Ignatavicius, MS, RN, and M. Linda Workman, Ph.D., authors of “Medical-Surgical Nursing - Critical Thinking for Collaborative Care,” advise slowly increasing your activities. Initially, you should take rest breaks throughout the day.
Chest discomfort, or angina, is a common effect of a mild heart attack. Damage to the heart muscle can cause a decrease in blood flow to the heart, causing chest pain. If a person has blocked coronary arteries, chest discomfort is common and can occur at rest or with exertion.
The FamilyDoctor.org reports that one in three people who experience a heart attack may suffer from depression during recovery. A person may feel depressed after a heart attack because of her fear of death or mortality. She may feel a sense of loss of control in her life. After a heart attack, a person may become depressed because he is afraid to engage in his regular activities for fear of suffering another heart attack. Patients are closely monitored for depression after a heart attack.
Heart failure may be an effect of mild heart attack. Damage to the heart muscle may diminish the pumping ability of the heart. If the left side of the heart is damaged by the heart attack, a person may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, low blood pressure and chest pain. If the right side of the heart is damaged, a person may have fluid back up into the venous system, which causes swelling in the lower legs, shortness of breath, weakness and chest pain.
Irregular Heart Rhythms
The effects of a mild heart attack include heart arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are irregular heart rhythms. The Mayo Clinic explains that when part of the heart muscle is damaged during a heart attack, its ability to conduct an impulse to beat can be impaired. This can lead to irregular heartbeats and rhythms. Symptoms of an arrhythmia include chest pain, feeling your heart racing, dizziness, shortness of breath or passing out. You should see a doctor for any of these symptoms.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- “Medical-Surgical Nursing - Critical Thinking for Collaborative Care”; Donna D. Ignatavicius MS RN, & M. Linda Workman Ph.D.; 2006
- The Mayo Clinic: “Heart Arrhythmias: Causes”
- The FamilyDoctor: “Depression After a Heart Attack”
- The American Heart Association: “Recovering From a Heart Attack”