Heart attack

Heart attack warning signs should be memorised by every single person, seeing that it is the most common killer in Western civilizations. However, most people are still oblivious of them. Are you one of them?

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or central chest pain lasting more than a few minutes.
  2. Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms. The pain may be mild to intense. It may feel like pressure, tightness, burning, or heavy weight. It may be located in the chest, upper abdomen, neck, jaw, or inside arms or shoulders.
  3. Chest pain or discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
  4. Anxiety, nervousness and/or cold, sweaty skin.
  5. Paleness or pallor.
  6. Increased or irregular heart rate.
  7. Feeling of impending doom.

Not all of these signs occur in every myocardial infarction. Sometimes the chest pain and other symptoms may go away and return.

If you notice one or more of these signs in yourself or others, don't wait. Call Emergency Medical Services (9-1-1) right away.

In the event of finding someone not breathing, nor a pulse, call 9-1-1 and begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.

However, NECK ARM PAIN also calls for an examination of the lower neck obviously.

Man experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack.

This page was last updated by Dr Barrie Lewis on 4th July, 2021.

In Women

A woman experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack.

Women are just as likely to have a heart attack as men, but tend to have them when they are considerably older, and are thus less likely to believe they are having an MI.

Whilst chest pain or discomfort (heartburn?) is still the most common symptom, women are more likely than men to have

  • nausea,
  • face pain and
  • shortness of breath with ordinary activities.
  • Sleep disturbance and
  • unusual fatigue in the days leading up to the heart attack are oft reported by women who survive.

Your own private heart attack

Many people are on their own when they develop these symptoms of severe pain, beginning usually in the chest and often spreading to the jaw and left arm.

When alone, reports Dr Patrick Teefy, head of Cardiology at the University Hospital, London, Ontario, immediately start the following, having alerted the emergency services:

  • Take in a deep breath
  • Cough deeply
  • Repeat every two seconds and keep doing it until help arrives, or the heart starts to beat normally again.

Deep breathing draws in fresh air, and the coughing squeezes the heart and helps to keep the blood circulating, and re-establishing a normal rhythm.

Women smoking is a major cause of heart attack.

Looks glamorous, eh! What's less fun is that women who smoke are on average going to have their heart attacks a whole FIFTEEN YEARS SOONER than non-smoking women. That is a lot of life to lose for glamour.

"The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep."

Dr Henry Maudsley, psychiatrist

Foods to reduce inflammation

What is disturbing is that despite America having been admonished to reduce animal fat, change to polyunsaturated fats and take statins to reduce cholesterol, the number of people dying of heart disease continues to soar.

Heart attack is far more complex that cholesterol, animal fat and a stressed life style.

It is astonishing to read the confession of this cardiologist, the veteran of over 5,000 open heart surgeries; his assertion is that Medicine has been barking up the tree for over half a century, and he with them. Should we be going back to butter?

Quite clearly blocked coronary arteries is about the total life style, and what's interesting is that 150 years ago, heart attacks were a very rare phenomenon. If anything the move away from animal fat, and to hydrogenated oils like margarine has worsened matters.

Cholesterol has been fingered as the main cause of heart disease, but in fact homocysteine is probably far more important. It's the toxic breakdown product of protein metabolism. The absence of certain vitamins found predominantly in green leafy vegetables and eggs is the main cause of a build of this substance.

Salt and blood pressure has been fingered too, but it's fascinating listening to top level medical researchers arguing the toss about sodium chloride.

Whilst the consensus of medical opinion is that we all eat far too much salt, raising our blood pressure, but the scientific research is particularly equivocal on the subject. And too little salt is also one of the causes of metabolic syndrome, a major factor in heart disease. The subject is highly complex and the jury is still out on the subject.

In the short term, a return to daily green leafy veggies, and a reduction of polyunsaturated oils containing high levels of omega-6 fatty acids is vital. So is more exercise, fatty fish and every smoker knows they will lose 7 to 10 years of their life. Seeing the grandchildren grow up, and sitting under those trees one once planted is only for those exceptions that prove the rule.

  • Foods to reduce inflammation ...
  • Organic green foods ...

Other causes of CHEST PAIN

A diagram with labels illustrating the rib bucket movement.

Of course, not every pain in the chest is a heart attack. It could be a condition called Tietze's syndrome, that chiropractors treat successfully. For more information about chest pain, click here:

"Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative."

Maurice Chevalier


The Australian journal, CIRCULATION, (JAN 2010) reports that a major study of nearly 9,000 people aged 25+ found that every hour of TV watched per day increases your risk of cardiovascular disease by a massive 18%, and surprisingly, cancer by 9%.

This was due to the unhealthy influence sitting has on blood sugar and blood fat levels. (It is difficult to measure the effect of the TV content, and the radiation from a TV screen).

Dunstan etal.

Alcohol and Margarine

Alcohol, particularly red wine .., ( CHOLESTEROL ALCOHOL ) is beneficial, but read the details.

Trans fats

A new study published in the British Medical Journal, using a "meta analysis" technique, joining many authoritative studies concludes that saturated fats like butter are definitely not the villain of the piece; rather it's hydrogenated trans fats that are the killer. What foods have trans fat is an important question.

Coloured foods

Enjoying 8-10 coloured foods every day results in a 35% reduction in all cause of death.

If you're enjoying meals like this you can have your butter and eat it. Unfortunately the "whole wheat" story is muddied. Food companies can call their products whole wheat if they contain flour that is at least 60% whole wheat. But the 40% that has been removed is the vital part; what's left is largely empty calories and bran.

Look for 100% whole wheat products. Better still, if you're serious about your food, buy a wheat grinder. It takes me 6 minutes every other day to make this sourdough bread, including feeding the starter that is rich in lactobacillus, the bacterium that can break down proline, the problem child for those with gluten intolerance. This sourdough bread recipe is really very simple.

A salad with five coloured foods.

Learn QuickCPR - you can do it.

Of course, it would be far better to take an annual CPR course. It could save your own life, or that of a close friend or family member in the event of a heart attack.

Younger women

A worrying trend is that, while the overall mortality from heart attack is dropping, it appears that in younger women, less than 49, the rate is rising again.

There is speculation that more young women are smokering again? Possibly because those working are notoriously over-committed. They have no time for exercise, are buying more fast food and TV dinners, and have little relief from rest and relaxation.

Dad, how about making this fish soup this weekend? Fish oil provides the healthy oils that we now know reduces heart disease and gives protection against the serious neurological diseases, and arthritis too. It's easy, and delicious.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel, albacore, tuna and salmon, at least twice a week.

There are no easy answers, but a trend in Europe where most women now work around 16-24 hours a week, is a recognition of the time Home-making takes up in a woman's life. Perhaps the second car has to go for us to stay alive?

Remember too that Exercise and Cholesterol ... are strongly connnected.

Exercise like skipping does wonders for cholesterol.

Run out of ideas for a birthday present for Mom? How about a skipping rope?

Tip: Start skipping without the rope for a week or two, springing up and down and swinging the arms. Can you manage five minutes?

Advantages: Cheap, quick and fun if the whole family does it. Otherwise boooooring.  But the alternative? Too ghastly to contemplate.

A more painful exercise

Take a tape measure, and measure your waist at the level of the navel, and at the level of your hips. At the widest.

Use this formula;

(waist measurement) divided by (hip measurement)

  • Female? Is the ratio above 0.85?
  • Male? Is the ratio above 1.00?

I'm afraid you are in serious trouble. Research done at Tufts University states categorically that you have 40 percent increased risk of sudden death due to a heart attack. That is massive. Get it off, or pay the price.

30 to 40 percent of all heart attacks, at least 56 000 deaths in the US alone, are caused by elevated homocysteine, a breakdown product of methionine metabolism. Without salads and fruit, and eggs for B12, a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals means an inability to deal with this breakdown product of protein metabolism.

A review of 92 studies measuring HOMOCYSTEINE in 20 000 people published in the British Medical Journal found that every 5 unit increase in blood plasma homocysteine led to a 30 to 40 percent increase in heart disease and a whopping increase of 65% of stroke.


Heart Attack and Diabetes

A little story. I've been bullying a patient and good friend to start walking for several years. He's 30kg overweight. Of course, nobody listens to a friend's advice. Last year, feeling unwell, he popped into a pharmacy and asked for help. They decided to measure his blood glucose. It was over 35! (Normal is well under 10). Three weeks later he had a heart attack - and survived. Now he listens to his friend!

My point? There are a huge number of undiagnosed diabetics roaming the streets. It's such a simple little test. One prick of the finger, a drop of blood, and Bob's your uncle. Do it if you are overweight, always thirsty and pee a lot. Everyone should really be tested.

Read more about diabetes and heartdisease …


You now know all about the connection between obesity, exercise and Heart attack. At Chiropractic Tips will give you more ideas about slowing down, eating better, and finding fun ways to exercise; and how Alzheimers and Exercise are also intimately related, and a strong link between Obesity and Arthritis.

  • Chiropractic Conditions is a central page at our site. It provides you simply and easily with the sorts of diagnoses that the average DC would be treating.
  • Healthy Living Tips is another vital page at Chiropractic Help. Sparkling wellbeing is not just about having your subluxations adjusted. This link gives you some insights into different foods you could and perhaps should be eating.

Drinking water

By all means drink more water; it's healthy. But the research suggests that you don't need to be neurotic about those eight glasses a day - it's an old wives' tale cooked up by a medical doctor back in the last millennium that we need so much. A good idea but without any scientific foundation - unless you are suffering from kidney disease.

Actually, water is magical stuff. Ironically it was the Latent Heat Fusion, and water's polar nature that convinced me that Creation without a Creator was even crazier than believing in fairies!

One huge problem today is that our drinking water is laced with tiny particles of plastic amounting 5g a week; that's what a credit card weighs.

And it's in bottled water too. Read more about about our rainwater harvesting model.

To find links to topics in bold use the site search function in the navigation bar above.


The controversy rages... too little salt also increases the risk of heart disease. Salt high blood pressure ....


  • Go to Bernard-Preston.com my other site where you will find a lot more information on nutrition.

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