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  • Writer's pictureDr Felecia Sumner

How to Recognize a Heart Attack & The Best Vitamin to Prevent Arterial Plaque

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

How long do you think it would take you to recognize that you might be having a heart attack? How long might it take you to recognize it in somebody else?

A heart attack happens every 40 seconds in the US. Heart attacks can be deadly, but a new study found that one of the most important ways to save lives and improve outcomes from a heart attack is to get to the hospital quickly.

They found that getting to the hospital quickly makes a bigger difference in outcomes than how long it takes to be treated after arrival at the hospital. That’s because hospitals have become pretty efficient at acting quickly (treating heart attacks within about 45 minutes of arrival). So, changing the hospital response time by 10-20 minutes is less likely to make a difference than changing the amount of time it takes to get to the hospital.

So, let’s review the classic signs to help you recognize a heart attack:

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest

  • Any of those same pressure sensations in the arms or spreading to your neck, jaw, or back

  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or abdominal pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Cold sweat

  • Fatigue

  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

Some people have a heart attack completely out of the blue. Others get warning signs hours, days, or even weeks in advance. One warning sign is chest pain that is triggered by activity and goes away with rest. This can be a good reason to seek medical help before it becomes an emergency situation.

On a similar note, I often get asked if there’s a special supplement or herb that can help to prevent heart disease, and it’s noted that we commonly ignore the power of Vitamin K2. In the famous Rotterdam study, sufficient Vitamin K2 intake was shown to prevent both cardiovascular disease and aortic calcification more than 50% of the time! Taking along with Vitamin D3 (especially when deficient) even helps magnify this effect. Foods such as butter (but only if it’s grass-fed), cheeses, fatty red meats (e.g. ribeye steak), liver, and egg yolks are rich in Vitamin K2. But, if you’re not eating enough of these foods, it may be worth talking with your practitioner about supplementing.

Please share this information with anyone you love. And if you (or somebody you are with) starts to show concerning signs of a heart attack, please dial 911. It could save a life.


Redfors B, Mohebi R, Giustino G et al. Time Delay, Infarct Size and Microvascular Obstruction After Primary PCI for ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction. Circ Cardiovasc Interv. 2021.

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