What A Heart Attack Feels Like For A Man
The classic symptom of chest pain may not be present in every heart attack, but it remains the most common sign among men. The pain is often described as a pressure or squeezing sensation. Chest pain tends to be located in the center of the chest, but it can be felt from armpit to armpit.
Other common heart attack symptoms for men include:
- shortness of breath, which sometimes develops before any other symptoms, and may be present when sitting still or moving around
- back pain, often moving up to the neck
- arm pain, typically in the left arm, but can be in either or both arms
- jaw pain that sometimes feels like a bad toothache
Jaw Pain: Can Signal A Heart Attackby Seo Admin On July 29 2013
A dull, vague pain on the lower left side of your jaw should never be ignored. This pain increases and decreases over the course of a few minutes. In addition, it moves around so you cant quite pinpoint exactly where it bothers you. Known as referred pain, this sensation occurs when the nerves surrounding the heart become agitated, sending pain through the nerves in the spine to other locations in the body, specifically the left jaw, shoulder and arm.Below, the When to Worry Scale can help you understand the difference between benign jaw pain such as TMJ, a sinus infection or a toothache, and serious jaw pain associated with a heart attack.Green Zone: Lowest RiskIf moving your jaw around increases the pain, its likely the discomfort has nothing to do with your heart.Yellow Zone: Medium RiskJaw pain that happens in the morning can be an instance of referred pain and serves as a warning sign that youre at risk for a heart attack. Your blood is thicker at this time of the day, which causes blood pressure to surge, increasing heart attack risk.Red Zone: The Highest RiskPain brought on by physical activity can manifest in several areas including the chest, jaw, left arm and shoulder, a scenario that typically indicates youre having a heart attack. Shortness of breath, a common heart attack symptom in women, may also occur. You may also get additional classic heart attack signs such as dizziness or nausea. In this case, see a doctor immediately.droz.com
What Are Other Causes Of Jaw Pain
Most causes of jaw pain are not as serious as a heart attack. Some of the following causes are due to problems with the jaw joint itself:
of the jaw, including and
Dental problems, such as a tooth cavity, infected tooth , gum disease , or tooth grinding
, a long-lasting pain disorder that causes widespread and tender spots in the jaw and other body areas
Temporomandibular disorders , which cause jaw and limit jaw movement
Jaw muscle stress or strain, which can be caused by overextending your jaw during a dental procedure or while yawning
- Myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic form of muscle pain in the jaw and other areas of the body centered on sensitive points in your muscles
- Giant cell arteritis , a serious autoimmune inflammatory condition that, if untreated, can lead to blindness and other serious complications.
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When Should You Call 911 For A Heart Problem
At certain times, calling 911 right away is a must. If youre having chest pressure or chest tightness that started that day, you should not wait to go to your general practitioner, says Dr. Cho. Go to the emergency room.
You should also call 911 and get help right away if you have chest pain or discomfort along with any of the following symptoms, especially if they last longer than five minutes:
- Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- Sweating or cold sweat.
- Light-headedness, dizziness, extreme weakness or anxiety.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats.
Symptoms Can Be Different For Men And Women
Men and women experience heart attack symptoms in slightly different ways. The main difference is how pain radiates.
- For men: Pain will spread to the left shoulder, down the left arm or up to the chin.
- For women: Pain can be much more subtle. It may travel to the left or right arm, up to the chin, shoulder blades and upper back or to abdomen . Women are also more likely to experience these accompanying symptoms: shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain. Read an in-depth overview of heart attack symptoms for women here.
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly with mild pain and discomfort. Surviving a heart attack depends upon how well you recognize and react to these symptoms. Remember that “time is muscle.” The sooner you receive medical care, the sooner heart muscle can be saved.
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Is It A Heart Attack
A heart attack happens when the muscles in your heart are starved of oxygen due to a problem with your blood circulation, such as a clot, for example. Pain in the left arm is the best known symptom of a heart attack. When someone is having a heart attack, this pain comes on suddenly, gets worse with exertion and eases off at rest, and is generally accompanied by other symptoms. These might include chest pain or a burning or tightening sensation in the chest, numbness or pain in the arm, back, neck, stomach, or jaw, and nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness or fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms together, you should call for urgent medical assistance as you could be having a heart attack.
Muscle Sprain And Strain
While sprains and strains are both usually caused by sports injury, overuse, or accidents, they are two distinct things:
- A sprain is damage to ligaments the tissue that connects bones together.
- A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon the tissue that attaches muscle to bone.
Both sprains and strains of your shoulder, biceps, and muscles of the forearm will cause pain, swelling, and inflammation. A muscle strain tends to also feature spasms, weakness, or cramping, while both conditions can cause difficulty moving the involved joint.
“Many sprains or strains just need a few weeks to recover from. However, with most orthopedic injuries if the pain has not substantially subsided in 3-4 weeks you should seek expert care,” says Robert Anderson, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Summit Orthopedics.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- You have sudden crushing, squeezing, tightening, or pressure in your chest.
- Pain spreads to your jaw, left arm, or between your shoulder blades.
- You have nausea, dizziness, sweating, a racing heart, or shortness of breath.
- You know you have angina and your chest discomfort is suddenly more intense, brought on by lighter activity, or lasts longer than usual.
- Your angina symptoms occur while you are at rest.
- You have sudden, sharp chest pain with shortness of breath, especially after a long trip, a stretch of bedrest , or other lack of movement, especially if one leg is swollen or more swollen than the other .
- You have been diagnosed with a serious condition, such as heart attack or pulmonary embolism.
Your risk of having a heart attack is greater if:
- You have a family history of heart disease.
- You smoke, use cocaine, or are overweight.
- You have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
- You already have heart disease.
- You have a fever or a cough that produces yellow-green phlegm.
- You have chest pain that is severe and does not go away.
- You are having problems swallowing.
- Chest pain lasts longer than 3 to 5 days.
Is Mild Chest Pain Normal
Chest pain may arise and subside every few minutes or over several days. The cause may be related to the heart, the muscles, the digestive system, or psychological factors. Underlying causes of chest pain may be mild, as in the case of acid reflux. Or, they may be serious and indicate, for example, a heart attack.
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Home Remedies For Left Arm Pain
Until you can get to your doctor, home treatment can help arm injuries. For example, if you think that your arm is broken, use a sling to immobilize it and apply ice packs as you wait for medical attention.
Many other types of arm pain can improve on their own, especially if you:
- take time off from any normal activities that can tire your arm
- use an ice pack on the sore area three times a day for 1520 minutes
Heart Attack Symptoms And Warning Signs
A heart attack happens when an artery that feeds oxygen-rich blood to the heart becomes obstructed. The heart muscle begins to die, and heart attack symptoms begin.
- Sudden shortness of breath.
- Sudden sweating or flu-like symptoms, including nausea, clamminess or cold sweats.
- Unusual fatigue, light-headedness, weakness or dizziness.
- Pain that radiates. Men and women often experience this pain differently, as explained below.
- Intermittent pain that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. This sensation can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or fullness.
- Anxiety or a feeling of doom.
- If you have angina: Any change in the frequency, duration or intensity of symptoms, which do not respond to nitroglycerin.
When Should You See Your Doctor
Its always better to err on the side of caution if something doesnt feel right. If you have noticed that you are shorter of breath with regular activity, you should go to your general doctor or your cardiologist, says Dr. Cho. It depends on the severity and the acuteness if it has started recently or not.
When you do visit, be sure to:
- Bring a list of your symptoms and when they are occurring.
- Let them know about any related family history of heart disease.
- Talk about stress or anything going on in your life that might contribute to a problem.
Your doctor likely will listen to your symptoms and check your pulse and blood pressure. They may order blood work, which will show whether your heart is damaged. They also may use an electrocardiogram to tell whether the electrical activity of your heart is normal, or an echocardiogram to view images of the heart to see if damage has occurred. Some patients may get stress tests, a coronary computed tomography angiogram or a cardiac catheterization.All of this is important in identifying any problems and taking steps to intervene before a possible heart attack.
Concurrent Chest And Arm Pain Causes
Simultaneous chest and arm pain related to heart trouble can occur because pain signals that originate in the chest can radiate out to one or both shoulders and arms, as well as the back, neck, and jaw.
But sometimes concurrent chest and arm pain is due to a sports injury, a psychological disorder, or other noncardiac cause.
The following is a list of common causes of simultaneous chest and arm pain and what it means if they affect you.
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How To Know If Left Arm Pain Is Heart Related
This article was co-authored by Anthony Stark, EMR. Anthony Stark is a certified EMR in British Columbia, Canada. He currently works for Mountain View Safety Services and previously worked for the British Columbia Ambulance Service. Anthony has a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 22 testimonials and 92% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,036,928 times.
Pain in the left arm can be due to many conditions, ranging from run of the mill muscle pain to a severe heart attack. Abnormalities of the skin, soft tissue, nerves, bones, joints and blood vessels of the arm can all cause pain. There are a number of factors to consider in order to determine whether your left arm pain is heart-related or not.
Heartburn Or Frequent Belching
Occasional heartburn after a few cups of coffee or a couple of slices for pizza is perfectly reasonable. However, if you start experiencing heartburn and its never bothered you before, it might be a good idea to contact your doctor. The pain youre experiencing could be angina, a pain akin to heartburn that is caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart.
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Why Left Arm Pain
During a heart attack, the pain radiates to the left side because of the confusion of the nervous system during a cardiac event. Anatomically, the heart is located on the center of the chest but is slightly tilted towards the left. That is same reason why we often feel palpitations and heart rates more on the left side of the chest. In fact, the heart beat can be best palpated or auscultated with the aid of a stethoscope on the area below the nipple on the left chest. This is two finger breadths below the nipple. This is where the apex of the heart is tilted a bit. The left arm pain is more commonly felt by women who suffer an attack than in men who usually only has sudden, severe chest pain.
The left arm pain noted during a heart attack arises when the nervous system or the neuron messenger system is confused while sending the message that is not well defined as the somatic nervous system. The nerves that supply the heart and the left arm are from the same spinal segment. The pain originates form the left chest then travels to the other parts such as the back, nape and left arm.
A left arm pain should be treated as a warning sign of a heart attack. The person should immediately seek medical advice to get the medical help she or he needs, even without the presence of chest pain. Early detection is important for preventive purposes. A person can be treated more effectively if the early signs of a heart attack are identified at an early time.
What To Expect At Your Doctors Office
If you have left arm pain accompanied by other symptoms of a heart attack, dont delay. Seek emergency care immediately. This could be a life-threatening event.
Emergency personnel will use an electrocardiogram to monitor your heart. An intravenous line will be put in your arm to ensure you get enough fluids and to deliver medication, if necessary. You may also need oxygen to help you breathe.
Additional diagnostic tests will help determine if you had or are having a heart attack. Treatment depends on the extent of the damage.
Further testing depends on your symptoms and what can be determined from the imaging tests.
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What Is A Heart Attack
A heart attack is defined as damage to a part of the heart muscle to the extent that its functioning is compromised. The most common cause of a heart attack it is the build up of cholesterol and fatty deposit in the walls of the coronary arteries. This restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and affects its functioning. A piece of the deposit could break away front the artery wall and block the flow of blood which could also result in a heart attack.
Connections Between Shoulder Pain And Heart Attack
Discomfort from a heart attack can cause chest pain or even shoulder pain. So if you are experiencing shoulder or arm pain on the left side, you may be having a heart attack. However, Heart attack is not the only cause of these types of pain. So it is important to be aware of different body pains that can be indications of heart attacks.
Strong Indicators of a Heart Attack
Weak Indicators of a Heart Attack
Burning, squeezing, tightness, pressure or pain sensation
Knifelike or sharp pain felt when coughing or sneezing
Gradual increase of pain over a few minutes
Pain concentrated on one point.
Pain in the diffuse area, including middle of chest
Pain occurring distinctly on one side of the body
Pain extending to back, jaw, neck, and left arm
Abrupt stubbing pain that lasts for a very short moment
Pressure or pain accompanied by other symptoms like sudden nausea, cold sweat, problems breathing
Pain lasting for days or hours without any other symptoms
Pressure or pain that is felt during emotional stress or physical exertion or when you are resting
Pain caused by pressing the chest or body movement
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What Does A Heart Attack Feel Like
Knowing the early warning signs of heart attack is critical for prompt recognition and treatment. Many heart attacks start slowly, unlike the dramatic portrayal often seen in the movies. A person experiencing a heart attack may not even be sure of what is happening. Heart attack symptoms vary among individuals, and even a person who has had a previous heart attack may have different symptoms in a subsequent heart attack. Although chest pain or pressure is the most common symptom of a heart attack, heart attack victims may experience a diversity of symptoms. The following list describes the symptoms of a heart attack in more detail.