When somebody wants to make you feel OK about your shitty life, they'll usually say, "At least you have your health." If you don't have that, they'll remind you of how easy modern medical advances have made your illness compared to the past. They're not wrong. Anyone who's ever had surgery should absolutely be grateful it wasn't done with a hot poker and a shot of whiskey, as it would have been years ago. But the truth is that most of us aren't exactly doctors when it comes to our knowledge of modern illness. A lot of what we know and believe about how to avoid being sick is based on old wives' tales and approximately as medically advanced as the idea that masturbation causes blindness.
For instance, you probably believe that ...
5Heart Attacks Always Hurt
What You've Heard
When a character has a heart attack on TV or in a movie, he'll (they only happen to men on TV) usually clutch his chest like he's been shot and fall over dead. In more realistic shows, he might grab his shoulder, because the writers have heard that some heart attacks cause pain to radiate down your arm.
"I knew all those six-Hot-Pocket-lunches would catch up with me one day."
The point is, heart attacks clearly hurt. Some might feel like heartburn, some might feel like getting shotgunned in the chest, but as with most of death's favorite modes of operation, it makes sure you don't get out of here without some good ol' fashioned suffering.
If your heart attack hurts, consider yourself lucky. Pain is often just the body's internal fire alarm, letting you know that you need to get something checked out before things get out of control. The scariest heart attacks are the ones that don't hurt at all. Those are the ones that can kill you before you even know you're having one. Yes, that means you could be having one right now, but we'd ask that you ignore that possibility for the time being, as it can prove distracting.
"Ignore it and keep reading Cracked" is our official advice for both major health problems and credit card debt.
Even if you're lucky enough to have your body give you a painful heads up that your heart is thinking of quitting on you, the pain rarely comes in the form you'd expect. Chest pain is only one symptom on a long list of others. Some of them, like tooth pain and "a sense of doom ... for no apparent reason" are so seemingly random that even if you did decide to call someone, it probably wouldn't be a cardiologist, and it might not even be a doctor.
"Hello, Domino's? I feel a sense of doom for no apparent reason and was hoping you could help."
Of course, that's not even the scariest scenario. That would be the SBLD (silent but literally deadly) variety: a fart-based name we just made up to distract ourselves from the horrifying reality that there's such a thing as heart attacks with no symptoms. They're real, and even worse, fairly common -- studies show that anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of heart attacks go unnoticed. There's a distinct possibility that if you do have a heart attack, your first indication that anything's wrong could be when the white light blinks on at the end of the long dark hallway you were floating down.