Why Does a Heart Attack Cause Left Arm Pain?

One of the main warning signs of a heart attack is a pain in the left arm.

With age, the pain people experience in various parts of the body increases, and with that, the chances of experiencing a heart attack increase as well, which is why it’s imperative to know the various symptoms of a heart attack and how to deal with them.

People might wonder what’s the connection between pain in the left arm and a heart attack. The reason behind this is that the nerves that are responsible for carrying the signals from the heart to the brain and from the arm to the brain convey those signals to the same brain cells.

As a result of this, a human being’s brain could experience confusion regarding the signal’s source, causing the pain from a heart attack to occur in the left arm with no painful sensations being felt in the chest. This is termed referred pain.

What is a Heart Attack?

What is a Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a person’s heart gets blocked or reduced severely. This blockage usually occurs due to a buildup of cholesterol, fat, or other substances in the arteries of the heart.

The deposits containing cholesterol are known as plaques, and the process where the buildup of plaque takes place is called atherosclerosis. Another term for a heart attack is a myocardial infarction.

When the flow of blood is disrupted, the affected heart muscle begins to deteriorate. If the blood flow isn’t restored on time, it can lead to heart damage and even death.

Along with pain in the left arm, some of the other symptoms of a heart attack include:

·   Chest pain

·   Sweating

·   Anxiety

·   Shortness of breath

·   Dizziness

·   Heart palpitations

·   Fatigue

·   Nausea

·   Insomnia

What to Do If Arm Pain Occurs

What to Do If Arm Pain Occurs

Not every instance of left arm pain is related to a heart attack. However, medical help should be called for in the following circumstances:

·   If the pain in the patient’s left arm gets worse after a couple of minutes despite them resting it properly

·   If they find it difficult to breathe or experience shortness of breath

·   If they suddenly start having cold sweats

·   If they vomit or feel nauseated

·   In case they feel lightheaded

·   If there is a sensation of discomfort in their chest that is intermittent

·   If they feel their chest tightening or burning

·   If there is a presence of pressure or fullness in the chest which seems to be increasing gradually

·   If there is a rush of blood to one part of the person’s body


Pain in the left arm can occur due to various reasons, such as angina, rheumatoid arthritis, skeletomuscular injuries, and so on. The older humans get, the more difficult it often is to determine the reason behind the pain in one’s arm.However, being aware of the symptoms of a heart attack and what to do once you experience pain in your left arm can be a life savior. Gaining this knowledge will not only help you in seeking medical help on time but will be a resource in assisting other patients during critical situations.

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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