Some Other Early Warning Signs
Identifying early warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack is very important. The faster one seeks medical attention, the faster one can prevent dire situations from arising. Besides arm pain, some other early heart attack symptoms are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Heaviness in the chest region
- Irregular heartbeats
- Pain spreading to the jaw, neck, shoulder and arms
- Pain radiating from the chest all the way to upper back
People with high blood pressure, with a family history of heart disease, aging people, people with type 1 diabetes, cigarette smokers, alcoholics, sedentary lifestyle people, people consuming diets high in saturated fats need to be cautious of these symptoms if any, due to higher vulnerability to heart attacks. Such people should take extra precautions and make certain crucial lifestyle changes.
Daily exercising, consumption of a healthy, well-balanced diet, refraining from alcohol and smoking, etc. will help reduce ones susceptibility to get a heart attack. Heart attacks can affect anybody, irrespective of the age, sex, caste or creed. However, we need to take as many precautionary measures as we can. Better safe than sorry!
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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.
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.
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Chest Pain Pressure Squeezing And Fullness
Picture someone having a heart attack, and chances are you imagine them gasping for air and clutching their chest before falling unconscious. While you may experience chest pain during a heart attack, it may not be as dramatic. In some cases, it may not even be described as pain. Instead, it may feel more like pressure or squeezing in the chest.
Chest pain or chest discomfort is caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood to your heart. During a heart attack, you may feel this pain in the center of the chest. It can last for a few minutes and disappear, or it may recur after a short break.
This symptom is a warning sign of blocked or narrowed arteries. Dont hesitate to report this to your doctor, even if this and other symptoms are not intense.
Chest Pain: How A Doctor Decides It Could Be A Heart Attack
Posted October 26, 2015
Patients with chest pain come to my clinic with a nervous expression and a million-dollar question, “Doctor, is it my heart?”
Such concern is valid. But understanding how medical providers think about chest pain may allay some fear.
If you come to a clinic with chest pain, your provider will have questions about the major factors for heart disease. I will ask if you:
- have diabetes
- assess your age and gender
- check to see if you have a family history of heart disease.
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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.
You Feel Dizzy Or Lightheaded
A lot of things can make you lose your balance or feel faint for a moment. Maybe you didnât have enough to eat or drink, or you stood up too fast.
But if you suddenly feel unsteady and you also have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, call a doctor right away.
It could mean your blood pressure has dropped because your heart isnt able to pump the way it should, Bufalino says.
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Real Stories About Experiencing Heart Attack
“I never connect nausea, shoulder pain, heart attack together. However, one day I was cutting the grass one afternoon and walked to the house to drink water and had a sit. Then I felt nauseated and sudden pain that spread to my arm, which then curled up and could not uncurl. I had my grandson call 911 and was flown directly to a cardiac hospital after the ambulance crew said I was in full ST elevation myocardial infraction. I coded 4 times, but I recovered and was released the next day.”
“I am 58 and 3 weeks ago I had a heart attack. For a month I had symptoms like pain in my jaw, shoulder, face, arm, back and a burning in my chest. All these I felt on the left side of my body. The pain would always ease up, but one night I woke up and the pain did not go away. I took aspirin and I started throwing up, i was rushed to ER where they told me I was having a heart attack. I got treated and I now am home.”
“My mother complained about shoulder pain. Not much attention was paid and her joints ached as well but she thought it was flu. The day she experience chest pain was the day she passed out because of a major heart attack.”
Neck Pain Or Back Pain
Neck and back pain are common ailments after injury and with arthritis. However, neck and back pain coupled with pain spreading down both arms can signal a myocardial infarction. Again, this can occur with or without chest pain. If you experience neck and back pain for no reason and don’t have a history of injury or arthritis, it’s still better to have it checked out, especially if other symptoms are involved.
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Shoulder Pain And Its Link To Heart Attack
Chest pain is one of the most common signs of a heart attack that many people recognize easily. But sometimes, there are other symptoms as well, which you may not associate with a heart event. Case in point, shoulder pain can be a sign of a heart attack.
The shoulder can begin to hurt as a result of the pain radiating from the chest. This is most commonly experienced on the left side where your heart resides.
Its important to be aware of this type of pain as a symptom of a heart attack, as well as other strong and weak indicators of a heart attack. The below chart will help you distinguish between the two.
|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 the chest
|Pain occurring distinctly on one side of the body
|Pain extending to back, jaw, neck, and left arm
|Abrupt stabbing 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
What Do You Do If You Have A Heart Attack
If you have any of the listed symptoms:
- tell someone and ask them to get help right away
The faster you get help, the better your chances of surviving a heart attack. Half of heart attack deaths happen within 2 hours of the first signs.
On average, Canadians wait almost 5 hours before getting medical help. Many people find it hard to believe that they are having a heart attack. They convince themselves that the symptoms are something else and that they will go away.
Not getting help for your symptoms could lead to death. New therapies and drugs can reduce damage and save your life if treatment begins soon enough. Your health care provider will work with you to determine treatment and recovery needs.
If you have suffered a heart attack, having important health information close by can help medical staff treat you. Carry personal health information with you at all times and have it posted by your phone. You may not be able to tell medical staff this information yourself, depending on your condition.
Your list should include:
- telephone and health care number
- medical history
- current medications
- health care provider
- health insurance number for expenses that are not covered under provincial health insurance plans, such as:
- ambulance services
Why Do People Having A Heart Attack Often Feel Pain In Their Left Arm
The signs of a heart attack may vary from person to person. The pain in the left arm is a characteristic symptom, but you can have a heart attack even if you do not experience much pain in the arm. When the pain is present, it usually radiates from the nape, to arm and then spreads to the back.
The pain you experience on the left side is mainly because the nervous system becomes confused during a cardiac event. Anatomically, the heart is in the center of your chest but is slightly towards the left side, which is why you experience heart rates and palpitations more on the left side. The left arm pain is due to the confusion of the neuron messenger system this happens because the nerves that supple the left arm and the heart come from the same spinal segment. This is also the reason why the pain often travels to the nape and back.
It is possible to have a heart attack even in the absence of any left arm pain. In fact, women are more likely to experience the left arm pain as compared to men who only experience sudden, severe chest pain. However, you should not ignore a left arm pain and seek immediate medical help because early detection can really help to prevent serious complications.
How To Tell If Chest Pain Is Serious
Some types of chest pain should send you to the emergency room particularly if it lasts for at least five minutes.
Symptoms could include new or unexplained chest pain coupled with shortness of breath, a cold sweat, nausea, fatigue or lightheadedness. Aside from your chest, the pain, pressure or discomfort also may radiate to your:
- Upper stomach.
Lasting and unrelenting pain in these areas may signal a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, says Dr. Rimmerman. Call 911 to seek immediate treatment to save heart muscle.
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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
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.
Download the common heart attack warning signs infographic |
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Does Left Arm Pain Mean I Am Having A Heart Attack
You suddenly feel pain radiating down your left arm. Could this be a heart attack?
The answer is yes, particularly if the pain comes on suddenly and is severe or if it is accompanied by chest pain or pressure in the chest. Of course, not all left arm pain signals a heart attack. The pain could be a result of a problem with the nerves in that arm, for example. However, if the pain is sudden, you should seek medical attention immediately to rule out a heart attack.
Many people know that left arm pain and chest pain can signal a heart attack, but not all heart attacks have these symptoms. Protect yourself by knowing all of the symptoms of heart attack and seeking emergency medical care if you experience them.
- Chest discomfort: Many heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. And remember: NOT ALL PEOPLE WITH HEART ATTACKS HAVE CHEST 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 with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, or suddenly feeling nauseous, lightheaded or extremely tired.
Whats The Difference Between A Cardiac Arrest And A Heart Attack
The phrases cardiac arrest and heart attack are often confused, however are different.If youre having a cardiac arrest you will be unconscious, not breathing or not breathing normally. Your heart has stopped pumping blood around your body and youll need CPR and medical attention immediately. During a heart attack youll be conscious and breathing, but experiencing chest pain or discomfort.A heart attack is a medical emergency and can lead to cardiac arrest so its important to seek medical attention straight away.
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Tips To Determine If The Left Arm Pain Is Heart Related
Your left arm can hurt for a number of reasons including overstrain or even injury, so how can you tell when it is related to the heart? The below tips will help you distinguish regular left arm pain and heart-related left arm pain.
Evaluate the quality of your pain: Pain will feel like pressure or squeezing in the chest, and vary in intensity. If this pain then moves to the left arm, that indicates it is a heart-related left arm pain.
Look for non-pain-related symptoms: Left arm pain that exists on its own is rarely caused by the heart. Looking for other non-pain-related symptoms can help you better determine if you are about to have a heart attack. These symptoms include nausea, lightheadedness or dizziness, cold sweating, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. If these non-pain symptoms coexist with your pain, you need to contact a doctor immediately.
Evaluating your pain: When evaluating your pain, its important to first note the duration of the pain. If the pain only lasts for a few seconds, it is quite unlikely that it is caused by the heart. If pain is persistent, lasting days or weeks, that is also an unlikely indicator of heart-related pain. Pain related to a heart attack will last for a few minutes or hours, and it may also reoccur in short intervals. Lastly, if pain in the left arm occurs only when you use the arm for physical activity, it is due to muscle issues, not heart.