Heart Attack Warning Signs You Should Not Ignore
February 8, 2017Heart
Heart attacks are the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Every year, approximately 735,000 Americans experience a heart attack or myocardial infarction. Ventricular fibrillation is a leading cause of death of heart attack sufferers, and this typically occurs before victims can make it to an emergency room. For those who can get treatment in time, the prognosis is excellent, as most modern treatments yield a survival rate of more than 90 percent. The remaining percentage of those who do eventually die are those who have suffered significant damage to the heart muscle during the heart attack or those who experience damage later.
Why Does My Arm Ache For No Reason
Injuries or trauma to any part of the arm or shoulder, including bone fractures, joint dislocations, and muscle strains and sprains, are common causes of arm pain. Sometimes diseases that affect other organs in the body, like peripheral vascular disease or arthritis, can be the cause of pain in the arm.
When Should I Worry About Left Arm Pain
Left arm pain without chest pain may be a dull ache or a shooting pain, and it may accompany other symptoms, such as headaches and muscle weakness. If the pain is severe or persistent, see a doctor. Seek emergency care if the pain results from trauma or if there are any symptoms of a stroke or heart attack.
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Catch The Signs Early
Dont wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
How To Recognize Left Arm Pain As A Warning Sign Of Heart Attack
Pain in the left arm can be a normal occurrence in older people, but it also can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Among these problems lies the issue of a heart attack. So, how do you recognize left arm pain as a sign of a heart attack, which is a medical emergency and should be treated as such?
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Left Arm Pain: Symptoms Causes And Treatment
Pain in the arms is a common complaint. We use our arms a great deal in everyday life, and the muscles, joints and tendons inside them can all be the cause of this pain. However, arm pain is not always caused by a problem with the arm itself, and may come from elsewhere in the body. In this case, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. If you feel pain in your left arm in particular, it is important to be vigilant because this can be one of the symptoms of a heart attack. It is therefore important to learn to recognise the symptoms in order to tell if a pain in your arm is a cause for concern, and to know when you should seek urgent medical assistance.
Surviving The Widow Maker
To Elizabeth Tyer, Williamson Medical Center is where she got her life back. She never expected to have a widow maker heart attack in her early 40s, but when she called EMS after sickness that worsened by the hour, our paramedics were able to communicate the status of Elizabeths condition so that when they arrived, doctors and nurses were standing by and ready to go.
She had a stent inserted into her aortic artery within the hour and credits the fast response time and knowledgeable cardiologists at WMC with the reason she is here to tell her story today.
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Cardiac Arrest Vs Heart Attack
Sometimes there is confusion between the terms “cardiac arrest” and “heart attack.” A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is damage to the heart muscle that occurs due to reduced blood flow to the heart muscle, depriving the heart muscle of the oxygen it needs to function properly.
Cardiac arrest means that the heart stops beating and death is imminent. A heart attack, if severe, can lead to cardiac arrest, and this is what occurs when a heart attack is fatal. However, other conditions, such as serious arrhythmias or shock, can also cause cardiac arrest.
What Else Could Cause My Arm Pain
When your arm or is painful, it is most often due to a condition that is not as serious as a heart attack. Common causes of arm pain include:
Arm or shoulder muscle stress or due to over exercising and activities, such as sleeping in an awkward position
bone due to an injury
, inflammation of a bursa sac that cushions a joint
, a disorder that causes long-term tender spots and in the shoulders and other areas of the body
Injury to the neck or shoulder, which can cause pain to spread down the arm
, wear and tear of the joints in the arm and shoulder
, irritation of a tendon from strain or overuse such as in
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Causes Of Heart Attack And Heart Disease
Chest pain can result from blocked or reduced blood flow to the heart better known as a heart attack. It can also be a warning sign that a heart attack may occur. There are things your doctor can recommend to reduce your risk of a heart attack and live a heart-healthy life. For example, you doctor will assess your risk for heart disease which can lead to a heart attack. Your risk of heart disease and heart attack increases with:
- a family history of heart disease.
Warning Signs That Arm Pain Is Heart Pain
When chest pain is accompanied by arm pain then a possible cardiac condition should be considered. Certain people are at greater risk of a heart attack and these symptoms should immediately raise the concern about a possible heart attack. However, this may not be the first consideration in some cases like with children or teens.
Risk factors include being over 45 years of age, being overweight or obese, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and a history of coronary artery disease, hypertension , high blood cholestrol and diabetes among a host of other factors. A family history of heart disease is also an important risk factor.
If chest pain and arm pain are accompanied by these signs and symptoms then immediate medical attention is necessary.
- Shortness of breath
Although this is cardiac pain often caused by coronary artery disease, angina pectoris is not a heart attack. It is a momentary interruption in the blood supply to the heart muscle. The muscle tissue may be injured without tissue death like with a heart attack. Symptoms are similar to a heart attack but relieves with rest and nitrates. Angina pectoris may be a prelude to a heart attack with episodes persisting for months or even years prior.
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What Are 6 Common Signs Of A Heart Attack
These six heart attack symptoms are common in women:
- Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but some women may experience it differently than men. …
- Pain in your arm, back, neck, or jaw. …
- Stomach pain. …
- Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness. …
- Sweating. …
What Not To Do
If you feel heart attack symptoms:
- Donât delay getting help. “Women generally wait longer than men before going to the emergency room,” says Rita F. Redberg, MD, MSc, FACC, director of Women’s Cardiovascular Services for the UCSF Division of Cardiology in San Francisco. Even if you think your symptoms arenât that bad or will pass, the stakes are too high.
- Don’t drive yourself to the hospital. You need an ambulance. If you drive, you could have a wreck on the way and possibly hurt yourself or someone else.
- Donât have a friend or relative drive you, either. You may not get there fast enough.
- Donât dismiss what you feel. “Don’t worry about feeling silly if you’re wrong,” Goldberg says. You have to get it checked out right away.
“People don’t want to spend hours in an emergency room if it isn’t a heart attack,” Bairey Merz says. “But women are actually good at deciding what is typical for themselves and when to seek health care.”
Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director, Joan H. Tisch Center for Womenâs Health, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York.
C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, FACC, FAHA, director, Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center director, Preventive Cardiac Center professor of medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.
Rita F. Redberg, MD, MSc, FACC, director, Women’s Cardiovascular Services, UCSF division of cardiology professor of medicine, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco editor, JAMA Internal Medicine.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Chest Muscle Strain
Chest muscle strain can cause sudden pain if your muscle is torn. A muscle strain in your chest can be acute. It may also gradually spread through your body as bleeding or swelling around the injured muscle occurs.
Common symptoms of a muscle strain in your chest include:
Your pain may be sharp from an acute pull in your muscle, or dull from a chronic strain. It may also be painful when you breathe or move your upper body.
You may experience uncontrollable and involuntary movements called muscle spasms due to a strain or tear. Muscle spasms may be painful or slightly irritating based on the severity and location of your strain.
With any kind of tear or strain, you will see swelling in the injured area. This can help you find where your pain is coming from.
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Chest Pain In Heart Attack
Chest pain associated with a heart attack is often described as tightness, pressure, squeezing or crushing chest pain. It is usually central, located just behind the breastbone on the anterior surface of the chest. In a patient at a high risk of a heart attack, pain of this nature may be sufficient cause to seek emergency medical attention even without other signs and symptoms present. Chest pain alone, however, is not necessarily an indication of a heart attack without the presence of other clinical features.
The character of chest paid due to heart attack can vary. While it is usually accepted as being a severe pain, it can at times present just as a mild discomfort. At other times it may just be a burning chest pain, similar to heartburn caused by acid reflux. Understanding the nature of chest pain due to a heart attack is therefore imperative for early diagnosis and quick medical attention.
Heart attack chest pain :
- Radiates to arm, neck, jaw or upper abdomen
- Anxiety impending sense of doom
- Abnormal breathing sounds wheezing
One or more of these symptoms associated with chest pain should be sufficient reason to seek medical attention.
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Is Your Chest Pain A Sign Of A Heart Attack Or Something Else
Chest pain is frightening and must be taken seriously. So know this: If you are having severe discomfort in the chestespecially if the chest pain is radiating to your neck, jaw or armsand its accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness and sweating, call 911 immediately. Some people may not have chest pain at all during a heart attack, but they may have the other symptoms listed. In that case, its still best to call 911.
But sometimes chest pain isnt a heart attack. It might have a different cardiac cause or be totally unrelated to your heart. Here are three clues that its not a heart attack:
If you are experiencing chest pain like this, call your doctor to make an appointment.
Chest pain that isnt a heart attack can be heart-related or not .
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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Causes Of Left Arm Pain
The causes of left arm pain can vary. The most well known of these is a heart attack. In this case, the arm pain may be accompanied by pain or a tightening sensation in your chest, pain in your back, neck, shoulder or jaw, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness or fatigue. Left arm pain can also be caused by angina. This has similar symptoms but they only last for a few minutes. Pain may also be the result of having tense muscles due to stress. Similarly, an injury or a problem affecting your bones, joints or soft tissue can cause arm pain, as can poor blood circulation and sleeping with an incorrect posture.
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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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Heart Attack Symptoms: Women Vs Men
Women may experience classic symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath as many men do, but they also tend to experience stomach pain, back pain, and other non-classic symptoms.
Because of the subtlety in those symptoms, many women brush off these warning signs and already have heart damage by the time they get to the Emergency Department.
And many women put their families before their own health. But you cant take care of your loved ones if your own health is not where it needs to be.
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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.
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Non Cardiac Causes Of Chest Pain/left Arm Pain
Mentioned below are some of the common non-cardiac causes of chest/left arm pain.
|Musculoskeletal||This is related to the muscles and bones of the chest wall or arm.Pain can last as long as the underlying condition stays and can be reproduced by palpation and movement of the involved area.Costochondritis is one of the most common causes.|
|Gastrointestinal||This pain involves the organs of the gastrointestinal system which includes the stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas esophagus.Gastric ulcer and gastro-esophageal reflux disease are the two common causes.|
|Infections||Local soft tissue infections of the chest wall can cause localized pain.Herpes zoster- a viral infection that causes a burning sensation like pain in a specific skin region.|