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7 Atypical Heart Attack Symptoms for Diabetes

The most common reason people die from a heart attack is because they don’t seek help soon enough. They ignore their symptoms or miss them entirely. For a person with diabetes, this is even easier to do, which is scary because those with diabetes are increased risk of having a heart attack. In fact, 65% of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Lack of awareness is one of the main problems here. Many people with diabetes don’t know their risk of having a heart attack is greater, and they don’t know that the signs to look for are not necessarily the same as the classic heart attack symptoms. Because of this, heart attacks are more likely to be fatal in those living with diabetes.

Nerve damage may cause people with diabetes to miss the symptoms that would ordinarily alert them to the occurrence of a heart attack. Neuropathy and nerve damage around the heart specifically can cause the warning signs to be less noticeable.

We’ve compiled a list below of classic heart attack symptoms and how they may manifest themselves differently in those with diabetes. Another thing to remember is that women often have different heart attack symptoms than men, so even if you’re a woman who doesn’t have diabetes, some of these symptoms may be things you should watch out for too.

1. Chest Pressure

Chest pain is a common symptom of a heart attack, but for someone with nerve damage, this pain may only be a mild pressure, something you wouldn’t ordinarily get concerned about it. In fact, about a third of heart attack patients don’t report having any chest pain at all! But if you believe you may be at risk for a heart attack, pay attention to this symptom, however slight, and look out for other warning signs. Always better safe than sorry!

mature businessman clutching his chest

2. Shortness of Breath or Heart Palpitations

In a person with diabetes, shortness of breath may seem to come on suddenly and out of nowhere when you have a heart attack. You may feel like your heart is skipping beats as well. If the symptoms are mild or you’re doing something active, these may not seem abnormal, but we urge you to start paying very close attention to your body when these subtle symptoms arise.

runner woman rest on the leaves in park

3. Sweating

Excessive sweating for no apparent reason is another atypical symptom of a heart attack. Again, if you feel anxious and sweaty for no reason, watch out for other symptoms and have a phone near by just in case. Only you know what normal feels like. If it’s abnormal, consider calling your doctor just to be safe.

Human Skin and Sweat

Medianet DBS
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?