Car accidents often lead to bodily injury, but did you know that they can also damage your heart?
This is a worrisome thought because your heart is one of the most important organs in your body on par with your brain. Any form of heart injury must be taken seriously and care must be prompt.
Unfortunately, heart problems stemming from a car crash are hard to detect and challenging to treat. As a result, many heart injuries go overlooked and this can cause long term complications.
It’s always a good idea to visit the doctor after a car accident to make sure that you’re alright. Checking for a heart injury is also important and you should know what to tell your doctor if you’re worried that you’ve sustained one.
Let’s take a look at how a car crash can cause heart injuries and why they’re often overlooked.
What Heart Injuries Are Caused By Car Wrecks?
The first thing you should understand is what type of heart injuries result from a car accident.
There are three main types of injury. This includes myocardial contusion, traumatic aortic disruption, and heart attacks.
While none of these ailments are minor, a myocardial contusion is the mildest of the three. This is what happens when your heart muscle gets bruised.
A heart attack is another potential injury that stems from the high stress of being in an accident. Heart attacks are typically caused by one of your coronary arteries clogging up, but stress can also lead to an attack, especially if you’re already dealing with heart disease.
Traumatic aortic disruption is another possibility. The aorta is your body’s largest artery, found just beneath your heart. When a disruption happens, your aorta is punctured or ruptured and causes life-threatening bleeding.
A traumatic aortic disruption is often fatal, so it doesn’t get overlooked. On the other hand, myocardial contusions and heart attacks are the two main injuries that do go unnoticed. We’ll primarily focus on these two wounds in the rest of the article.
How Do They Happen?
Now that you know what type of heart injuries can happen, you’ll want to know how they occur.
This is fairly straightforward because your heart needs to be impacted in some way for it to sustain damage. With car accidents, you can either suffer a direct blow to your chest or be impaled by an object.
A powerful blow will lead to myocardial contusion. This typically happens when your chest is forced into the steering wheel after being hit.
Your seatbelt is meant to prevent you from moving, but sometimes it fails and you may hit the steering wheel. Alternatively, a serious accident to the front of your car can alter your car’s body and force your vehicle’s interior to compress.
There’s also the possibility of being hit from the side and having your door slam into your chest. If you’re lucky, this will be a minor bruise, but it’s more likely to be a serious injury because there is less car body in between you and the other car.
Should you be impaled by an object, like broken glass or a piece of your car, then a traumatic aortic disruption is possible. If it travels with enough force and lands in the right area of your body, it will puncture the aorta and lead to serious bleeding.
We mentioned that heart attacks are another injury resulting from car accidents. The intense stress and anxiety following an accident can send your body into shock. This can temporarily weaken your heart and cause an attack that doesn’t require blocked arteries because your heart’s function is impaired.
What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Injury?
You must also know what the symptoms of a heart injury are. Here are a few of them:
● Difficulty catching your breath.
● Tightness in your chest.
● Pain near your heart.
● Abnormal heart rate.
● Fatigue and lack of energy.
● Dizziness and lightheadedness.
● Nausea, indigestion, and vomiting.
● Feeling weak.
What all of these symptoms have in common is feeling weakened resulting from issues with your chest. If you’ve been in a car accident and have experienced any of these symptoms, then you need to inform your doctor!
Why Do They Go Unnoticed?
While the signs of a heart injury seem fairly straightforward, they often go undetected following a car accident.
There are a few important reasons why this happens.
First, it’s common to experience some of these symptoms after an accident without having a heart injury. Other, more common injuries can present these symptoms and it can cover up what’s going on with your heart.
Second, you may not notice that you have any of these indicators. There are many emotions following an accident and you’ll be filled with adrenaline, which can make it difficult for you to register pain.
Third, there’s also the possibility that you don’t experience any of these symptoms. Even if you do have a heart injury, it may not immediately present with obvious symptoms. As a result, you won’t have anything to tell your doctor and they may not look deeper.
Finally, you may deal with some of these signs, but they pass so quickly that you don’t think twice about them. This is common with a silent heart attack because the symptoms are fairly mild and easily confusable for a normal reaction to a car accident.
Heart injuries that don’t present symptoms are incredibly scary and almost impossible to detect. However, if you do experience any of these indicators, you can receive prompt treatment if you’re vocal about what you’re feeling when being checked out by a physician.
Car accidents are a traumatic experience that often leads to serious injuries. Some of the scariest wounds involve damage to your heart.
There are three main types of injuries sustained from a car accident, including myocardial contusion, traumatic aortic disruption, and heart attacks.
Contusions are caused by direct blows to the chest, aortic disruptions are typically the result of being impaled, and a heart attack is brought on by stress.
Heart injuries can present numerous symptoms, most of which are characterized by weakness and pain in the chest. Unfortunately, these symptoms are not always present and they can be mistaken for other ailments.
Because of this, heart injuries caused by car accidents are often overlooked. Make a point of seeing a doctor following an accident and indicate if you have any unusual symptoms so that you can get the treatment you need.