How To Know When To Visit The Er For A Heart Attack
Each year, about 805,000 Americans suffer a heart attack. The symptoms of a heart attack vary not only from person to person, but also from heart attack to heart attack in the same person.
It is important to remember that heart attacks can occur gradually or all of a sudden. Therefore, make sure you know the symptoms and call 911 immediately if you or your loved ones are experiencing signs of a heart attack.
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.
He Had Bouts Of Severe Back And Shoulder Pain Which He Did Not Relate To His Heart
Another man had what he described as five-minute episodes of discomfort in the centre of his stomach, which he found debilitating rather than painful. Two days later he had what he thought was indigestion, becoming nauseous and experiencing an overwhelming feeling of tiredness. It was at this point that he was diagnosed as having had a heart attack.;One 37-year-old woman describes the pains she had in her teeth and arms. Another man, a hospital consultant, explained that he had what felt like severe heartburn but none of the classic symptoms of a heart attack.
Occasionally, a heart attack is ‘silent’ and produces little discomfort. People may not know they have had one until they have a medical investigation for other symptoms or a routine medical examination .A few people said they had no symptoms and had felt well before their heart attack. Several described breathlessness, chest pain when walking up a hill or exercising, arm pains, or felt lethargic or more tired than usual in the lead up to having a heart attack. But many did not recognise the significance of these symptoms until after their heart attack. They had thought at the time that they were caused by asthma, indigestion or other gastric conditions.
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Treating Left Arm Pain
If your left arm pain is benign, you can initially treat it by resting, applying a cold compress to the painful area and elevating your arm. If the pain is caused by a fracture, your arm will have to be immobilised in a plaster cast for several weeks. If it is caused by a musculoskeletal issue , treatment may include painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and physiotherapy. Using one of the OMRON HeatTens range of pain relievers can also help to relieve muscle and joint pain using a combination of soothing heat and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation . If the pain is caused by an underlying heart condition, the treatment may involve taking medication for pain relief, in addition to making some radical changes to your lifestyle. Finally, if someone is having a heart attack, they must receive immediate medical treatment because heart attacks can be fatal and sometimes require surgery if medication alone does not dissolve the clot that is causing the problem.
Wexler, A. . Why do I have a pain in my left arm? Retrieved from www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317652.php
Pietrangelo, A. . Why is there pain in my left arm? Retrieved from www.healthline.com/health/pain-in-left-arm#takeaway
New Health Guide. What causes pain on the left arm? Retrieved from www.newhealthguide.org/Pain-In-Left-Arm.html
Jaw Neck Or Back Pain
Jaw, neck or back pain may also serve as heart attack warning signs. While both men and women may experience pain in these areas ahead of a heart attack, research suggests women experience jaw and back pain, specifically, more frequently than men.
While the above symptoms are not always indications of heart attacks and may have other underlying causes, it is critical that you seek medical care immediately in the event that you or someone else starts exhibiting any of them. Calling 911 may be the fastest and most effective method of receiving prompt care.
If you are having a heart attack, every minute matters. Having emergency responders come to you, rather than you transporting yourself to the hospital, means medical professionals can begin treating you that much faster, which may ultimately mean the difference between life and death.
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Upper Body Pain Or Discomfort
While many people typically assume that heart attack pain is concentrated around their chest and left arm, pain can affect different parts of the upper body.
Many women who have suffered a heart attack have experienced back, neck or jaw pain that began gradually or suddenly and was strong enough to wake them up from sleep. Unexplained pain should be reported to your doctor immediately.
Arm pain can also be a sign of a heart attack. This can affect either one or both arms.
Why Are Arm Pain And Heart Attack Connected
Most often a heart attack occurs when a obstructs blood flow into your heart muscle . This commonly causes a cramping or squeezing pain in the center or right side of your chest. Heart attack symptoms are extremely variable, but sometimes the pain in your chest extends to one or both shoulders and arms.
In addition to shoulder and , you may also have , aching or discomfort in other areas of your upper body, such as your neck, jaw or back, without any chest pain. This happens more commonly in women than in men.
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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.
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 21 testimonials and 93% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 980,799 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.
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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.
What Are The Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack
There are several different warning signs of a heart attack, and they are not always sudden or severe. Whether or not your chest pain symptoms include mild to severe pain, they should be considered heart-related until proven otherwise.
People having a heart attack may have just one of these symptoms, or a combination of several. They can come on suddenly or develop over a few minutes and get progressively worse. Symptoms usually last for at least 10 minutes.
Warning signs could include:
- discomfort or pain in the centre of your chest a heaviness, tightness or pressure, like something heavy sitting on your chest, or a belt tightening around your chest, or a bad case of indigestion
- discomfort in your arms, shoulder, neck, jaw or back
- other problems such as:
- feeling dizzy or light-headed
Heart attacks are more common in older people than in younger people, but they can occur in people of any age.
The pain you have may not sound like that described above, but its still important to see a doctor. Remember, all chest pain should be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
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How Are Heart Attack Symptoms Different From Afib Symptoms
Fluttering and palpitations are key symptoms of AFib and is the key difference, but many heart problems have similar warning signs. If you think you may be having a heart attack, DONT DELAY. Get emergency help by calling 911 immediately. A heart attack is a blockage of blood flow to the heart, often caused by a clot or build-up of plaque lodging in the coronary artery . A heart attack can damage or destroy part of your heart muscle. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help.
When Should I Call Triple Zero For Chest Pain
You should call triple zero and ask for an ambulance immediately if:
- your chest pain is severe, or worsening, or lasts longer than 10 minutes
- your chest pain feels heavy, crushing or tight
- you have other symptoms, such as breathlessness, nausea, dizziness or a cold sweat
- you also feel pain in your jaw or down your left arm
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Shortness Of Breath Nausea And Lightheadedness
Shortness of breath can occur with or without a chest pain during a heart attack. Most people dont realize this can happen before or after a heart attack as wellespecially for women..
Research has found that shortness of breath is the third most reported symptom before a heart attack among women and the top symptom during a heart attack.
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While Waiting For The Ambulance
Stop any activity and rest while waiting for an ambulance. Dont try to drive yourself to hospital. Loosen any tight clothing, such as collar buttons or ties. Avoid breathing in cigarette smoke. Dont have anything to eat or drink.
If you have been prescribed angina medicine, sit or lie down and take a dose of this under your tongue. If this doesnt relieve your symptoms in 5 minutes, try taking 2 more doses at 5-minute intervals.
Chew 300mg aspirin straight away, unless you’re allergic or your doctor has told you not to. Do not give aspirin to anyone under 12 years.
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Left Arm Pain Doesnt Always Mean Youre Having A Heart Attack Heres What To Watch For
Left arm pain and how the pain moves can be one of the key differences between mens and womens heart attacks.In men, the left arm pain will move from the shoulder down the left arm or up to the chin. If the pain comes on suddenly and is unusually severe, or is accompanied by pressure or squeezing in the chest, seek emergency treatment immediately.
In women, the pain can be subtler. It can radiate to the right or left arm. It can involve the chin, shoulder blades and upper back. The pain can reach into the abdomen and feel like nausea, indigestion and anxiety. Women are more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Like in men, chest pain or discomfort is a common heart attack symptom in women. The pressure or squeezing can last for more than a few minutes or be intermittent in women. Seek emergency medical treatment immediately if you have heart attack symptoms.
Not all left arm pain, achiness or difficulty moving is a sign of a heart attack. Sometimes the cause is an injury, compressed nerves or other issues that dont involve your heart.
Be mindful of the other symptoms, and if they last for more than a couple minutes, get emergency help.
Symptoms And Getting Help For A Heart Attack
A heart attack usually causes severe pain in the centre of the chest. The pain usually feels like a heaviness or tightness, which may also spread to the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. The pain may affect only the neck, jaw, arms or stomach. A person having a heart attack may also sweat, feel light-headed, feel sick, or be short of breath or have an overwhelming feeling of anxiety.
Many of the people we interviewed had severe chest pain which spread to their arm, and they called ‘999’ for an ambulance or they called their GP.
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Learn About Your Local Heart Attack Resources
One of the most important ways you can advocate for yourself is doing research. âTake action before you ever have a heart attack,â Caulin-Glaser says.
âItâs important for women to do their homework regarding the hospitals in their neighborhoods. Find out which hospitals specialize in heart disease,â she says. Some questions for women to ask:
- Does the hospital have a cardiac catheterization lab that performs procedures such as angioplasties and stents?
- Is this âcath labâ available 24 hours, seven days a week?
- Is there a coronary bypass surgery program?
- Once women arrive in the emergency room with a heart attack, how quickly are they sent to the cath lab?
- Can doctors open a blocked blood vessel within the acceptable range of 90 minutes?
- Are all of the doctors in the emergency department board-certified in emergency medicine
What Does Pain In Left Arm Feel Like If Heart Issues
Left arm pain anxiety is a documented condition. So, the pain in your left arm could be the result of anxiety, but it could be the result of a heart problem or injury. If the pain in your left arm is accompanied by other symptoms such discomfort in the center of the chest and shortness of breath , it could be a signal of heart problems.
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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.
Bruising may occur in the injured area. If you have a torn muscle, you will experience severe pain and bruising in the torn area. For a muscle strain in your chest, you may have light bruising.
Does Heart Attack Always Come With Chest Pain
Although its uncommon, not everyone whos having a heart attack has chest pain . Women may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, sudden weakness that feels like the flu. Diabetics Diabetes A metabolic disorder in which the body has high sugar levels for prolonged periods of time. and the elderly may feel unwell, dizzy or weak. They may be short of breath. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women.
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What A Heart Attack Feels Like For A Woman
The most common symptom of heart attack in women is chest pain or tightness. Women may also experience pain in the upper abdomen. Women are also more likely than men to experience nontraditional symptoms, such as:
- fatigue, which may appear for several days prior to other symptoms and create the impression you have the flu rather than a heart attack
- upper back pain that may feel like burning, tingling, or pressure
- neck and jaw pain often without any chest pain
- pain, tingling, or discomfort in either or both arms
- nausea and vomiting
- shortness of breath, with or without chest pain that can come on suddenly
Because certain symptoms, such as nausea or fatigue, can signal any number of health concerns or illnesses, you should be particularly mindful of other possible heart attack symptoms.
If you suddenly become nauseated and youre having trouble catching your breath or youre feeling serious jaw pain, call 911. Tell the operator you may be having a heart attack.
Women are often reluctant to seek medical attention for heart attack symptoms. While women are slightly less likely than men to have heart attacks prior to menopause, the odds essentially are equal after menopause.