How A Heart Attack Or Cardiac Arrest Occurs & What To Do

by Dr David Minkoff February 22, 2024 6 min read

How A Heart Attack Or Cardiac Arrest Occurs & What To Do

Disclaimer: This article is purely informational and makes no claims as to treatment or cure by or from any supplement or program BodyHealth may offer. If you or someone you know has any heart condition, we recommend you see a doctor trained in functional medicine to help you locate the cause of the disease or condition and recommend a solution for it.

Note: If you get any of the symptoms listed lower down in this article, seek medical attention fast. They are often the only warning signs we get that there is a problem, and must be dealt with immediately to ensure survival.

Approximately 1.2 million Americans suffer a heart attack every year. That’s about 1 in 300.

But of those who die each year, about 50% of them have, but ignore, the warning signs that a heart attack may be coming.

In the last article we covered how cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, comes about in the first place.

Very simply:

Toxins, harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, and processed sugars (among other things) damage the mucous lining that protects the walls of our blood vessels.

This exposes and injures the walls of the blood vessels themselves.

A lesion forms where the injury occurred, gets covered with a “bandage” of cholesterol and possibly calcium, and this presses out into the passageway, slowing or eventually cutting off the supply of blood through that passageway.

If the blood vessels cut off are the blood vessels that feed the heart muscle itself, then the heart muscle loses its supply of oxygen and nutrients that it needs to survive and can die, causing a heart attack.

In this article we go deeper into what happens here, what the aftermath is, what the warning signs are (which can be minutes, hours, days or even weeks beforehand), and what the best prevention is.

This is an important one.


When the heart muscle itself doesn’t get the blood it needs, then that part of the actual heart muscle dies.

That’s a heart attack. And unless a person receives medical attention almost immediately, this generally results in death.

In some cases this part of the muscle can be brought back if caught immediately, but if not, if the person lives, this part of the heart muscle is still dead and the heart’s ability to function is greatly reduced.

You can also have cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating due to the part of the nervous system the controls the beat itself not receiving blood.

This is an electrical connection to the heart muscle that keeps it beating and these nerves control the beat of the heart itself.

So if the blood supply to the nervous system that creates the electrical impulse that causes the heart to beat has its blood supply cut off, then it can die and there is nothing causing the heart to beat anymore and we have cardiac arrest.

Then, as the heart has stopped, blood flow stops and the heart will very soon lose its blood supply to keep it alive.

And about 50% of people have their first diagnosis that they have a heart circulation problem by dying.

They die in their sleep.

They either didn’t have symptoms or ignored the symptoms.

Realize, these are tiny, tiny blood vessels that lead to the heart and feed the heart itself with blood so it can survive and function.

If a lesion has formed due to injury to the blood vessel, and it starts pressing out into the passageway that blood cells must move through, it could be unnoticeable at first, but blood can quickly back up here and go from imperceptible to life-threatening very quickly.

This is one reason prevention is always the highest priority before this. We don’t want to get to the point where we have minutes to address the situation. Better to have months to work to reverse the situation or years to prevent it.

And damage to the blood vessels, if addressed in advance, can be repaired.

But let’s look at someone who has survived a heart attack.

If the heart attack was caught in enough time, possibly the heart is still able to function.

But often we do have loss of at least some part of the muscle. And this means the heart’s ability to pump blood through our body is greatly decreased.

There is a test people are sent to after having a heart attack, if they survived. It’s called Ejection Fraction. It measures the amount of blood leaving the heart with each beat — what fraction of the blood entering the heart is ejected.

Normal is about 55%-70%. But someone who’s had a heart attack, where the heart muscle has been damaged, they might only pump out 15% or 20%.

That’s less than half the normal amount of blood flowing through their blood vessels to the cells that need this blood.

And the cells need the oxygen and nutrients in this blood to operate.

It would be like you deciding to breathe in air only half the time you normally do, or less. How would you feel?

That’s what these cells are now getting. So they can’t function or produce energy at near the levels they used to.

Often times people with this situation have trouble even walking due to this. Walking up a flight of stairs becomes impossible.

Now, with stem cells and various other treatments, at a clinic, we can usually get the Ejection Fraction raised, often to double what it had gotten to. A big improvement — but not to where it was originally.

Prevention, and reversal of the conditions that lead to this, really are the most important actions.

And that is:

Preventing the toxins (both chemical and metal), the invaders (bacteria, fungi and parasites), and the high levels of processed sugars and trans fats from getting into our blood stream;

Getting rid of the toxins and invaders that are already there causing damage;

And then repairing the damage that has been done to our blood vessels to reverse this condition.

These are our most important actions to take so that we don’t get, very suddenly, to the point where a heart attack is about to occur, or has occurred.


Now remember, the blocking of a blood vessel occurs gradually. If blood vessels started narrowing in our leg, we wouldn’t immediately get no blood blow, we would get lessened blood flow.

So we would start to feel increased pressure there as the blood backed up some, having a hard time moving through.

We could get pain, as the muscle or nerve cells had lessened blood flow resulting in potential injury or just lowered function.

And we could get less strength or mobility in that leg.

All of this occurs before the blood flow is eventually cut off fully.

The same is true for the heart, giving us warning signs before an actual heart attack.

But while many of these are the same for men and women, there are some differences. So we’ll go over each.

Common symptoms are:

  • Chest pain or discomfort: The discomfort usually lasts for more than a few minutes or it may go away and come back. The discomfort may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain at the center of the chest.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: This may include pain or discomfort in the back, jaw, neck, shoulder, stomach or in one or both arms.
  • Shortness of breath: This may occur with, before or without chest pain or discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Nausea or light-headedness or feeling unusually tired

If we experience any of these symptoms we need to seek medical attention.

In women we also have:

  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Pressure, fullness, squeezing pain in the center of the chest, spreading to the neck, shoulder or jaw
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Upper abdominal pressure or discomfort
  • Vomiting

Other early symptoms there is a problem can include:

  • Breathlessness after activity or at rest
  • Feeling tired most of the time and finding exercise exhausting.
  • Feeling lightheaded or fainting.
  • Swollen ankles and legs.


If we have any of these, it’s smart to see a doctor to check things out. Possibly they are not related to our heart, but it’s better to be sure.

And don’t wait.

It’s then important to get on a program that a) stops the intake of items that cause destruction to our blood vessels as covered above, b) rid our body of the toxins and harmful bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses that are causing damage to our blood vessels currently, and c) start to repair the damage that has been done.

If we do the above things, in almost all cases we can prevent an impending heart attack and lower our risk of one in the future.

Even more, we can set ourselves up for a long, active and healthy life where we don’t have to worry about such things.

Remember, this is a very gradual process. It actually starts when we’re younger, it’s just so gradual that we don’t notice the impact of it until we’re older.

Prevention, or reversal if addressed soon enough, is entirely possible.

And that’s what I want for you.

I hope this helps.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.