What To Do In Case Of Left Arm Pain
Some key points to remember:
- People that have been diagnosed with heart disease should consider left arm pain as a warning sign and visit the doctor as soon as possible.
- If youve suffered a fracture or have a bone problem thats left untreated, it can cause left arm pain in the long run.
- The problems mentioned above, such as rotator cuff tears and bursitis have a number of complications in store for people that dont tend to them.
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;|;
When You See Your Doctor:
- Bring;a list of your symptoms and when they are occurring.
- Let them know about any related;family history.
- Talk about stress or anything going on in your life that might contribute to a problem.
Your doctor likely willlisten to your symptoms and check your pulse and blood pressure. They may orderblood 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.;
All this is important inidentifying any problems and taking steps to intervene before a possible heartattack.
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Signs Of A Heart Attack In Women Vs Men
When you think of heart attack symptoms you think of chest pain and a tingling in your left arm, but so often there are many more symptoms then what we have been taught.
Over time doctors and scientists have learned that heart-attack symptoms arent always what you see in the movies or on TV. Your symptoms could be different just depending on if youre a man or a woman.
At Advanced Body Scan, we think its important for you and your family to know and understand the wide range of symptoms you could experience during a heart attack. An article posted in The Washington Post is the perfect example of how misleading symptoms can be.
As an active and healthy 46-year-old, Sue Palmer thought it was strange when she woke up feeling nauseous, but as most of us would, she chalked it up to be a 24-hour bug. Luckily, after she got sick a few times her husband suggested that they should go to the ER because she might be having a heart attack.
When she got to the hospital she was rushed to the back and immediately hooked up to an EKG to see what exactly was going on. She wasnt overweight, she had good cholesterol, she exercised regularly, ate well, and there was no family history of heart disease. Yet, according to the EKG, she was having a massive heart attack. Her only symptom prior to this was throwing up a few times.
Early symptoms for everyone can include: Mild pain or discomfort in your chest that could come and go Pain in your shoulders, jaw, and neck Sweating
What You Should Do During A Heart Attack
If you think you are having a heart attack, you or someone nearby should call emergency services immediately. Its unsafe to drive yourself to the hospital during a heart attack, so call an ambulance. While you may feel awake and alert enough to drive, the chest pain could get so severe that you may have trouble breathing or difficulty thinking clearly.
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When To See A Doctor
Even if youve ruled out a heart attack or stroke, its always a good idea to follow up with your doctor if you have unexplained numbness in any part of your body. This is especially important if it doesnt seem to go away once you change positions.
During your appointment, make sure to tell your doctor:
- when your symptoms started
A Cough That Wont Quit
In most cases, this isn’t a sign of heart trouble. But if you have heart disease or know you’re at risk, pay special attention to the possibility.
If you have a long-lasting cough that produces a white or pink mucus, it could be a sign of heart failure. This happens when the heart can’t keep up with the body’s demands, causing blood to leak back into the lungs.
Ask your doctor to check on whatâs causing your cough.
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Heart Attack Symptoms In Women
If you have any of these signs, call 911 and get to a hospital right away.
Describe Chest Pain To Your Doctor
Doctors use several pieces of information to determine who is, and who isn’t, having a heart attack. In addition to the description of your symptoms and your heart risk profile, doctors use the results of an electrocardiogram and a blood test called cardiac troponin. But sometimes these don’t immediately show abnormalities. So, what you describe to the doctor and your medical history are extremely important in determining the initial steps in your treatment.
Here are some things your doctors will want to know about what you are experiencing:
What is it that you are feeling ?
Where is the discomfort?
Has it gotten worse or stayed the same?
Is the feeling constant, or does it come and go?
Have you felt it before?
What were you doing before these feelings started?
Clear answers to these questions go a long way toward nailing down a diagnosis. A few seconds of recurrent stabbing pain is less likely to be a heart attack , while pain centered in the chest that spreads out to the left arm or jaw is more likely to be one.
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What Are The Early Signs Of A Heart Attack
There are heart attack symptoms in women that are different from heart attack symptoms in men. But the common signs and symptoms they usually share are as follows:
- Chest pain or discomfort: The discomfort usually lasts for more than a few minutes or it may go away and come back. The discomfort may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain at the center of the chest.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: This may include pain or discomfort in the back, jaw, stomach or in one or both arms.
- Shortness of breath: This may occur with, before or without chest pain or discomfort.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Nausea or light-headedness
Meanwhile, heart attack symptoms in women sometimes go unnoticed. These include the following:
- Back pain
- Pressure, fullness, squeezing pain in the center of the chest, spreading to the neck, shoulder or jaw
- Unusual fatigue
- Treating or managing conditions that can be a risk factors of heart attack such as diabetes
Symptoms That Should Accompany Left Arm Pain
Chest pain:;Chest pain is the most commonly recognized symptom indicating that there is something wrong with the heart. But for some patients, chest pain does not occur as a symptom of a heart attack. You may experience pressure, tightness, or pain originating in the center of the chest spreading down the arm, to the back, or to the neck and jaw .
Unusual fatigue:;We all get tired from time to time, but if fatigue is new, sudden, or dramatic, it could be a sign of a heart attack. This includes suddenly feeling worn out after your typical exercise routine, feeling fatigued even without physical exertion or after simple activities like making the bed, and experiencing sleep problems even though you feel exceptionally tired.
Sweating and/or shortness of breath:;If you experience sudden sweating or shortness of breath without physical activity, breathlessness that worsens without activity, shortness of breath that worsens when lying down and improving when getting up, stress sweat with no apparent stress, or sweating or shortness of breath that is accompanied by the other symptoms listed here, then these are signs of a heart attack.
Neck, jaw, and head ache:;As mentioned, chest pains can move to affect the neck or jaw, but pain in the jaw or neck can occur without the presence of chest pain during a heart attack.
Upper back pain:;Pain from the chest may radiate to the upper back and can be experienced in-between the shoulder blades.
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Recognizing A Heart Attack
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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Heart Attacks In Women
Every 42 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a heart attack. Women account for nearly half of all heart attack deaths. Over a life time, heart disease kills five times as many women as breast cancer.
While heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, there are some key differences between genders. Women tend to experience heart attacks about 10 years later in life than men. Also, women are twice as likely as men to die within the first few weeks after suffering a heart attack.
However, there are many things you can do to help lower your risk of having a heart attack, including being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, following a healthy diet and knowing your risks.
Angina And Heart Attacks
Angina is a syndrome caused by the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart becoming restricted.
People with angina can experience similar symptoms to a heart attack, but they usually happen during exercise and pass within a few minutes.
However, occasionally, people with angina can have a heart attack. It’s important to recognise the difference between the symptoms of angina and those of a heart attack. The best way to do this is to remember that the symptoms of angina can be controlled with medicine, but symptoms of a heart attack cannot.
If you have angina, you may have been prescribed medicine that improves your symptoms within 5 minutes. If the first dose does not work, a second dose can be taken after 5 minutes, and a third dose after a further 5 minutes.
If the pain persists, despite taking 3 doses of glyceryl trinitrate over 15 minutes, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Page last reviewed: 28 November 2019 Next review due: 28 November 2022
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When To Call The Doctor
If you have any signs of heart disease, call your health care provider right away. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away or dismiss them as nothing.
- You have chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack
- You know you have angina and have chest pain that doesn’t go away after 5 minutes of rest or after taking nitroglycerine
- You think you may be having a heart attack
- You become extremely short of breath
- You think you may have lost consciousness
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.
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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.
Comparison Of How Left Arm Pain From A Heart Attack Feels Vs From A Muscle Problem
When people feel pain in their left arm, they are often worried that it could be a sign of a heart attack, says Nichole M. Polin, MD, FACC, Director, Cardio-Oncology Clinic, Ochsner Health System.
The pain can be more confusing if orthopedic issues are also present such as arthritis of the shoulder or neck or a rotator cuff injury, continues Dr. Polin.
Typically, if a person is having a heart attack, pain in the left arm would not be the only symptom.
More often, this pain would also be associated with a pain or discomfort in the chest, excessive sweating, nausea, weakness or shortness of breath.
Musculoskeletal pain is usually reproducible with motion and palpation and would not be associated with the above symptoms.
The feeling in the left arm from a heart attack is often described by patients as a shooting pain.
Its sudden and intense, and may have a burning quality to it.
However, pain of a muscular origin would not be shooting or burning, nor would it suddenly streak down the arm while youre at rest and not even using the arm unless it is a muscle spasm.
And in that case, the spasm likely would be more focal rather than involving the entire arm.
A muscle spasm can be sudden and attention-getting, but it often lasts just seconds or less. A spasm may recur every few minutes and go on like this for a while.
Left arm pain from a heart attack would not behave this way.
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Dont Ignore Heart Attack Warning Signs
- Chest pressure, tightness, and heaviness: Most heart attacks involve pain or discomfort in the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
- Extreme fatigue: A sense of unusual or extreme tiredness that lasts for days, or weeks, can be a sign of heart trouble. This symptom can be more common in women.
- Fainting and lightheadedness: This sensation can involve dizziness, extreme weakness or anxiety.
- Nausea: A feeling of sickness associated with your stomach, but can be heart-related.
- Pain in shoulders, neck, jaw, or arms: Report any unusual upper- body symptoms to your doctor.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest pain: Heart attack sufferers can have trouble breathing for no apparent reason.
- Sweating: This can feel similar to hormonal hot flashes or night sweats.
After You Call Emergency Services
When you call emergency services, the dispatcher may ask you about the medicines you take and your allergies. If you dont currently take a blood thinner and you arent allergic to aspirin, the dispatcher may advise you to chew an aspirin while youre waiting on medical attention. If you have nitroglycerin tablets, you may also wish to use these as directed by your doctor to reduce chest pain.
If you have a list of medications you currently take or any information about your medical history, you may wish to take this information with you. It can speed your medical care.
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