Hide this

20% Of Heart Attacks Go Undetected -- How Can You Check Your Risk?

January 01, 2003 | 35,524 views
Share This Article Share

But while that number may sound concerning, it marks an improvement over estimates from earlier studies, according to a report in a recent issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

It is possible, the study authors explain, that greater public awareness of heart attack symptoms and more-sensitive cardiac tests have led to fewer unrecognized heart attacks in recent years.

Although most heart attacks involve chest pain or discomfort, some occur without these symptoms. In addition, milder chest discomfort and other heart attack symptoms such as dizziness or shortness of breath may not readily signal a heart attack to the patient, or even the doctor.

Previous research in the US and elsewhere has suggested that anywhere from 20% to 40% of heart attacks may go undetected. But these estimates are based on patients who had heart attacks prior to the late 1980s, according to the authors of the new report, led by Lori L. Boland of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Boland's team analyzed data on more than 12,800 men and women who had participated in a national study of cardiovascular health between 1987 and 1998. Participants were between the ages of 45 and 65, and free of coronary artery disease at the study's start. They were followed for 10 years, on average.

The researchers found that, based on periodic electrocardiograms taken as part of the study, 20% of the 500 heart attacks participants suffered went unrecognized. African Americans had a slightly higher percentage of undetected heart attacks than whites did -- 23%, compared with 19%.

Despite the commonness of undetected heart attacks among these patients, Boland and her colleagues point out that the percentage is "slightly lower than previous estimates from other populations."

Although they don't know for sure, the authors note that it's "plausible" that in the 1990s, Americans became more likely to seek medical care for possible heart attack symptoms. In addition, they write, recent advances in detection, such as cardiac enzyme tests, may have allowed doctors to spot more cases of mild heart attack.

American Journal of Cardiology 2002;90:927-931

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

Donate Today!


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

With so many heart attacks going unnoticed doesn' t it make sense to concentrate and focus on prevention?

Of course it does.

So the most important blood tests would be two HDL ratios.

First of all, please understand that a total cholesterol level is very close to meaningless unless it is above 300. I have seen a number of people over 250 who actually were at low heart disease risk due to their HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen even more who had cholesterol levels under 200 that were at a very high risk of heart disease based on the following additional tests.

HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That percentage should be above 24%. You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should be below 2.

However, while cholesterol levels are typically related to insulin resistance, there are clearly a certain segment of individuals who have a strong overriding component to their cholesterol levels that is unrelated to insulin issues.


A fasting blood sugar level test is the simplest and least expensive. One used to have a blood sugar level greater than 140 to be diagnosed with diabetes. That has now been reduced to 126. Anyone with a level between 110 and 125 is considered pre-diabetic. Earlier this year, however, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation announced they use a fasting blood sugar of 90 mg/dl or higher as a biomarker of coronary heart disease risk.

Fasting Insulin level should be below 10 for certain, but an better level is below 5 and ideal level is below 2.

Iron can have a devastating effect on your body. It is a major contributing factor for disease and can easily be screened for with a ferritin level and total iron binding capacity.

Homocysteine levels should be below 8 (Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jan;77(1):63-70)

Lipoprotein a [Lp (a)]: Acceptable levels per dl of blood would be <10 mg. 11-24 md/dl are borderline high; >25 are very high. If your Lp (a) levels are over 10, you need to take action at once.

Nearly five years ago I posted information from a JAMA article that is relevant today. The following are four additional blood tests that have been reported to help determine your risk for a hear attack.

1. An elevated C-reactive Protein (CRP) was a risk. CRP is elevated when there is inflammation going on somewhere in the body.

2. An increased white blood cell count (WBC) was also a risk. A WBC count greater than 8.5 was found to be the cutoff.

3. Decreased albumin levels were also a factor that could indicate a relative protein deficiency and excess of carbohydrates.

4. Elevated fibrinogen levels, which indicates an increased tendency towards clotting.

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico