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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.

Warning signs

  • 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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.