RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The earliest medical reports tied Jackson's death to cardiac arrest. But that's not necessarily the same as having a heart attack.
"Cardiac arrest, it really would depend on why they were having cardiac arrest. If it was because of something they ingested their mental status might be a little altered. If it were more of a chemical kind of thing or blood loss secondary to trauma, then it might be a slower process where the symptoms may slowly evolve, and may be more subtle," said Michelle Headley of Patient First.
The symptoms may include dizziness, blacking out, and perhaps collapsing - though it appears too early to know for sure what happened with Michael Jackson. In any event, response time is crucial.
"With cardiac arrest, regardless of the cause, time is of the essence. The faster you can get blood flow to the body, to the brain they better their survival rate and outcome is gonna be," said Headley.
Good lifestyle choices and regular checkups can help detect the warning signs of any heart problems. But even doctors admit healthy looking individuals can also be at risk.
"That patient may not even appear to be susceptible, and they are, so I think it's difficult to predict," Headley said.
In all cases, health professionals say if you notice someone in cardiac arrest, the first call should be immediately, to 911.