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PATEL: February American Heart Month
Maulikkumar Patel
Maulikkumar Patel

The Covington News received the following:

When most people think of a heart attack, they think of someone clutching their chest in pain. But Maulikkumar Patel, M.D., with Piedmont Heart of Newton, wants the Covington community to know that that is not always how a heart attack presents. In fact, symptoms can be so nondescript that some people do not even realize they have had a heart attack.

The American Heart Association (AHA) refers to heart attacks as “silent” when they cause either no symptoms, minimal symptoms or unrecognized symptoms. Data from the organization shows that this situation applies to nearly one in four heart attacks. In these cases, advanced cardiac imaging like that offered by Piedmont Heart of Newton, conducted for an unrelated reason, often reveals the heart attack at a later date.

Dr. Patel emphasizes that no symptoms with a heart attack does not mean no damage.

“The amount and type of discomfort a person feels during a cardiac event does not necessarily correspond to the seriousness of the episode,” explains Dr. Patel. “That’s why it is so important to understand some of the lesser-known symptoms that can indicate a heart attack.”

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain (angina) or discomfort. Women are more likely than men, though, to have subtle signs of heart attack, such as indigestion, prolonged fatigue, and jaw or neck pain, according to the AHA.

“I encourage all of my patients, but especially my female patients who may experience less dramatic warnings of heart trouble, to seek care if something is going on with them health-wise that is not normal for them,” Dr. Patel said, adding, “You know your body best, so if your doctor is dismissive, dismiss them and find a provider who will listen and be thorough.”

For more information, or booking your next appointment, visit