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Is Arm Pain a Heart Attack Symptom?

Is Arm Pain a Heart Attack Symptom?

Pain that originates in the left shoulder and travels down the arm is one of the significant symptoms of heart attack. This article provides detail information on the nature and type of arm pain experienced due to heart attack.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: May 12, 2018
Did you know that fatigue, exhaustion, feeling cold and clammy, excessive perspiration, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, feeling lightheaded, breathing disorders, etc., can also be the symptoms of heart attack?

There is a universal misconception that chest pain is the only symptom of heart attack. As mentioned above, many other symptoms can be observed. Arm pain is one of the classic symptoms of heart attack. In other cases, it can be caused due to several reasons like muscle strain, muscle pull or injury. But, if accompanied with the aforementioned symptoms, it can mean that the person is, perhaps, having a heart attack. Let us know more about it.

Arm Pain and Heart Attack

Chest pain, arm pain that travels to the shoulder, to the jaw and the back, and breathing difficulties, etc., are the early signs of a heart attack. The pain originates in the chest and spreads to the arms, neck, and even to the back. It should be noted that usually left arm pain is associated with heart attack. Why is it so? This is because during a heart attack, pain originates from the left chest, then moves upwards to the shoulder and radiates down the brachial artery in the left arm.

Sometimes, people may experience only arm pain, and no chest pain at all. The aforementioned classic symptoms are observed usually in men. Women generally experience other symptoms like fatigue, exhaustion, anxiety, heartburn, abnormal heartbeats, excessive sweating, etc. Some women may not experience chest pain at all, but will definitely experience arm and shoulder pain.

The type of pain differs from person to person. Although left arm pain is associated with heart attack, it is not limited to it. Pain can be experienced in either of the arms. Therefore, it is better to consult the doctor if you experience sudden and unexplained left arm pain, even when other symptoms may or may not be seen. With the help of certain tests, the doctor can easily diagnose a heart problem.

What to Do

✔ Calling for emergency is the first and foremost thing that has to be done if you or your family member is suffering from the aforementioned symptoms.

✔ If emergency services are not available, drive the person to the nearby hospital immediately. You should, however, never drive yourself if suffering from a heart attack.

✔ You should try to calm the person and make sure he keeps on breathing normally until the ambulance arrives.

✔ Many people ignore or misinterpret the other symptoms of heart attack. Hence, it is not diagnosed at an early stage.

✔ It is recommended to consult the doctor in case you suffer from any signs and symptoms, with no known cause. This is applicable to older and younger adults, to thin and overweight people, and also to those who appear healthy.

It is also necessary to mention that arm pain is not always limited to heart attack. It can be a side effect of prescription medications. Sometimes, excess stress, injury and panic attacks can also lead to arm pain. It is better to note the other symptoms accompanied with arm pain, in order to get the underlying cause diagnosed and treated immediately.

As a concluding note, we can summarize the above in a single sentence, by saying that arm pain can be a symptom of a heart attack, and hence, it should not be ignored. It is better to get yourself checked by a specialist as early as possible. Take care!

Disclaimer: This article is meant only to provide information. It is not to be substituted for proper medical advice and consultation.