Why Do My Arms Feel So Heavy – Left arm pain is often a normal part of aging. However, sudden or unusual left arm pain may be a sign of a more serious health problem. This could be a sign of damage that needs treatment, or, in the worst case, the effects of a heart attack.
Knowing the possible causes and characteristics of left arm pain can help people understand how the body is responding and determine when to seek medical attention.
Why Do My Arms Feel So Heavy
In this article, we explain possible causes of left arm pain. For each of these causes, we’ve described other symptoms that can help people identify an underlying problem.
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A heart attack occurs when part of the heart muscle is damaged or stops working completely due to lack of oxygen.
Most heart attacks are caused by narrowed arteries. Arteries narrow due to plaque buildup. If a plaque breaks off the wall of an artery, it can cut off the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, causing a heart attack.
Left arm pain is one of the most common symptoms of a heart attack. Nerves from the heart and arm send signals to the same brain cells. As a result, the brain cannot isolate the source of pain.
If sudden left arm pain worsens within a few minutes or is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
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Chest discomfort is the most common heart attack symptom in both men and women. It comes in the form of pressure, tightness, fullness, burning, or pain that develops slowly.
More than men experience other symptoms, such as shortness of breath and nausea, during a heart attack. They may incorrectly attribute these symptoms to a virus, metabolic syndrome, or stress.
If a person experiences nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, or pain in the lower abdomen, back, or jaw, they should seek medical attention immediately.
People with angina experience discomfort or pain because the heart gets less oxygen than it needs. In addition to left arm pain, symptoms can also occur in the shoulder, neck, back, or jaw. Angina can also feel indigestion.
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Angina is not a heart attack. However, it is a sign of heart problems. Blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries often causes angina.
Stable angina is a predictable and controllable form of angina. It occurs regularly for at least 2 months and only when physically exhausted or emotionally stressed.
These conditions put extra stress on the heart, which means it needs more oxygen than narrowed arteries allow. Rest can help a person manage stable angina. If necessary, a doctor can prescribe a drug called nitroglycerin to relax the arteries.
This type of angina is unpredictable and dangerous. This can happen even when a person is at rest, which means the heart doesn’t consistently get enough oxygen.
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Unstable angina indicates that a person is at risk for a heart attack. Health professionals should evaluate patients with unstable angina in the emergency room.
Instead, discomfort can be a sign of damage to bone or tissue in the arm, shoulder, or elbow.
However, even with a good understanding of these possible orthopedic conditions, it can be difficult to tell if left arm pain is due to an injury or a heart attack. Risk factors for both, such as age and physical activity, also overlap.
For these reasons, it’s important not to attempt to self-diagnose or rule out heart problems without medical help.
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A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between the bone and surrounding soft tissue. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa.
Pain in the left arm can be a symptom of shoulder bursitis, which is often caused by overuse of that joint. This can also cause pain in the left arm if the bursa persists from a direct injury or infection.
Tendonitis is inflammation of the connective tissue between muscle and bone. Tendonitis often occurs with repeated use of the joint. For this reason, tennis players, swimmers, and musicians often suffer from tendinitis.
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and ligaments that hold the shoulder in its socket, helping a person rotate the arm and lift objects.
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Tearing the soft tissue of the loop can be very painful. It is usually caused by overuse or direct injury to the shoulder. Aging can also lead to loss of shoulder tissue, which can increase the risk of tearing.
When a buffer disc between the vertebrae ruptures, it protrudes from between the vertebrae and pushes against surrounding nerves.
If the disc presses on the nerves in the arm, a person may experience pain, numbness, or weakness in the arm. These symptoms can resemble a heart attack, but the causes are different.
People should see a doctor about pain in their left arm to prevent further damage or to diagnose and treat a heart attack.
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While arm and shoulder injuries may not be life-threatening, it is important to seek medical evaluation from a doctor. Early treatment can help the tissue or bone heal and prevent further damage.
However, the most important point in treating left arm pain early is to rule out a heart attack.
If emergency physicians think arm pain is a sign of a heart attack or clogged arteries, they take immediate action. First, they might do an EKG, blood work, a chest X-ray, and possibly a CT angiogram.
Doctors may also use an imaging procedure called cardiac catheterization. This test allows doctors to assess the extent of blockage by injecting dye into the artery.
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Based on the results of this test, doctors can choose a less effective treatment. For example, they might prescribe a blood thinner.
Severe blockages may require surgery. There are many different cardiac systems and choosing the most suitable one is complicated. Some
If a person experiences a heart attack or angina, they should make lifestyle changes to avoid a recurrence. These may include:
Doctors may prescribe special medications for people with type 2 diabetes who have high blood sugar levels despite lifestyle changes and taking metformin.
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Your doctor may prescribe a sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor, such as canagliflozin (Invokana), or a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1) agonist, such as duracil Glutide (Trulicity).
While left arm pain isn’t always a sign of a heart attack or angina, these are the most dangerous causes of these symptoms. Emergency medical care must be sought if hand pain is accompanied by shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain, and dizziness.
People with symptoms of heart disease should take steps to ensure they reduce their risk of serious complications such as stroke and heart attack.
Making these changes can be overwhelming at first, but they can help prevent injuries and other heart attacks.
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Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
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I recently came across a great article in Health News Today that brilliantly summarizes the complex answer to this question. I’ll give you a summary and my personal thoughts on this interesting question.
The official medical term for this feeling is called “paresthesia,” which refers to the “pins and needles, numbness, or crawling sensation” that many people report experiencing in their extremities, hands, or feet. This experience can happen at any time without warning.
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Most people have this experience. Usually, this is due to the position in which the person sleeps, where they lie directly on the nerves of the limb. The idea that the experience is because it cuts off blood flow doesn’t seem right. I’ve had many people say that this happens when they sleep on their backs with their arms in front of their chests (yoga pose Savasana aka Corpse Pose), especially if they’re side sleepers!
But in addition to these postural conditions, there are several medical conditions that are symptomatic of paresthesias, and let’s talk about 3 of the most common: cardiopulmonary, diabetes, and vitamin B deficiencies.
The Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is where you do a repetitive motion (writing is the most common) and you put a lot of pressure on a particular feeling (
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