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Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack: What’s The Difference?

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Navigating the world of medical terminology can feel like wandering through a maze for many of us. Terms often blur together, sounding eerily similar yet carrying distinct meanings for those in the know. 

Take, for instance, “cardiac arrest” and “heart attack.” Both sound menacing, both relate to the heart, yet they’re two entirely different threats frequently mixed up by the uninitiated.

Despite their shared association with heart health, each has a different cause, presentation, and treatment pathway. It’s essential to understand and distinguish between these conditions clearly. 

Understanding Heart Attacks

Think of the heart’s arteries as vital pathways, delivering essential nutrients that sustain life. From early childhood, we accumulate plaque in these arteries due to poor lifestyle habits, such as an unhealthy diet. 

As this buildup intensifies, it results in coronary artery disease, where arteries become worryingly narrowed. Enter the heart attack. It strikes when this plaque drastically limits blood flow or breaks off to clog another artery section. This deprivation of oxygen-rich blood triggers symptoms: chest pain, fatigue, dizziness, arm or jaw pain, or difficulty breathing. As a result, parts of the heart begin to die.

Inflammation of the heart muscle and certain medications can prime the heart, setting it on a path toward an attack. While a blockage often manifests as the immediate issue, these underlying factors truly drive the cause.

Heart attack symptoms might differ between genders and also between individuals. Some are abrupt and severe, while others creep in over time. 

Understanding Cardiac Arrest 

If you watch the news, you’ve likely seen the increasing trend of young, fit athletes suddenly collapsing on the field. It’s always shocking and painful to see the healthiest among us succumb to the unpredictability of life. In most of these cases, the culprit is sudden cardiac arrest. 

When the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, it ceases to pump blood, plunging into a state known as cardiac arrest. The root causes are often heart ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, two dangerous heart arrhythmias that disrupt the heart’s natural rhythm. 

Think of the heart as a house. In simple terms, a heart attack is akin to a plumbing issue triggered by clogged arteries. On the other hand, cardiac arrest resembles an electrical fault. The person in cardiac arrest nearly always loses their pulse. They then stop breathing and fall unconscious.

It’s important to understand that a heart attack can spark a cardiac arrest. As the heart grapples with reduced blood flow during an attack, its electrical system can be disrupted, leading to that sudden halt. Both situations are dire emergencies that require swift medical intervention. Grasping their distinctions enriches our understanding and might save a life one day.

Root Causes: Natural Factors Influencing Cardiac Events 

Dive deep into heart health, and it becomes evident that our modern lifestyle choices are pivotal contributors to the cardiac events we encounter. The NHD’s Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well philosophy stresses the importance of a holistic approach to wellness. Violations of this philosophy can set the stage for heart attacks and cardiac arrests.

Our diets have seen a seismic shift, often veering away from wholesome, natural foods. Poor eating habits, rich in processed foods and low in essential nutrients, pave the way for arterial blockages and heart health challenges. 

But it’s not just about the food. Today’s world is riddled with mental and physical stress.  Long hours at sedentary jobs and the emotional toll of an ever-connected digital society strain the heart both directly and indirectly.

Add to this the diminished exposure to natural sunshine, leading to potential Vitamin D deficiencies, and the widespread prevalence of disrupted sleep cycles. Both play crucial roles in maintaining optimal heart health. Furthermore, the omnipresence of environmental toxins, from polluted air to chemically laden products, adds an additional layer of stress to our cardiovascular systems.

A particularly contentious point in recent years is the potential link between prescription drugs, vaccinations, and cardiac events. While the evidence is still being debated and researched, the increased use of certain medications and vaccines certainly factors into the rise of life-threatening cardiac issues.

In essence, while genetics and certain uncontrollable factors play a minor role, our lifestyle choices and environment are undeniably the most significant contributors to our heart health. Adopting the Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well mindset can serve as a protective shield, emphasizing prevention over cure.

Next Steps 

Taking charge of our heart health is not just a necessity—it’s an imperative. As with many aspects of health, prevention is pivotal. Once damage infiltrates the heart, reversing its course becomes a Herculean task. Every choice we make, every meal we consume, and every stress we endure can leave lasting imprints on our cardiovascular system.

One cannot stress enough the significance of understanding one’s baseline health. The Test, Don’t Guess philosophy we champion at NHD serves as a guiding light. Comprehensive blood tests can unveil a world of information about the state of your health. From identifying inflammation to spotting other risk factors, these tests provide a roadmap to potential heart-related challenges lurking beneath the surface.

In a world rife with information, personal guidance remains irreplaceable. Why venture into the maze of heart health alone? Avail of a free 20-minute consultation with an adept NHD health coach. Voice your anxieties, share your worries, and let’s collaboratively chart out a plan rooted in evidence. Our aim? Ensure your heart remains robust, beating with vitality, and ready to support you for 100 years. 


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About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.


Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.


Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.