Heart attack symptoms have been widely publicized in an attempt to help people take control of their health, but because of this knowledge, it can be incredibly worrying to experience a numbness or tingling in your left arm. However, there are many possible times when a tingling in the arm is caused by a minor problem rather than a major health issue. Read on to learn more about when a tingling arm is not a cause for alarm.
Possible Causes of Tingling Arms
While heart attacks do cause symptoms to appear in the left arm, there are a number of other conditions that have far less serious implications that may be the reason for your tingling arm.
One very common cause for tingling arms in women at or past menopause is a hormonal imbalance. While it is more common during menopause, it can occur for younger women as well. A change in the levels of estrogen is usually the culprit for tingling or numbness in arms; lower estrogen levels affect many different processes in the body and can cause tingling and numbness.
In addition, something as simple as tight clothing can be the reason behind numbness in your arm. Anything that constricts your arm or parts of your chest have the potential to blow blood flow, causing slight tingling or even a sensation of numbness in the left arm. Accessories can have this effect as well, especially heavy purses.
A recent injury to your arm is also likely to have lasting side effects that may feel more serious than they are. In particular, an injury caused by a strong blow to the arm can later begin to cause a tingling or numb feeling.
Thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition in which nerves are compressed, may also be the reason for the tingling in the left arm. This often happens due to poor posture affecting the nerves in the neck and back, and it can cause arm numbness.
Sometimes, a numb left arm may be associated with a heart attack, but it will rarely be the only symptom. You should call emergency services if you also experience:
- Pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of your chest that does not dissipate within a few minutes
- Discomfort radiating into your jaw and back
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
Be aware that heart attacks symptoms for women often differ from those common in men - it is more common for women to experience the less obvious symptoms rather than the stereotypical chest pain.
Other Serious Problems
It is possible for a tingling left arm to be a sign of something serious other than a heart attack, like a tumor or stroke. These are rare problems, but call emergency services if you have experienced a head injury before the symptoms began, or if you have other stroke symptoms such as slurred speech, paralysis, or confusion, among others.
Knowing the difference between a normal tingling left arm and a sign of a heart attack can help you calm your anxiety and decide how to remedy your problem. If you're experiencing other tingling symptoms, learn more about tingling or numbness in feet.
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- American Heart Association. (2015). Heart Attack Symptoms in Women. Retrieved November 4, 2019 from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms-in-women#.V7IOV2P4PzJ
- American Heart Association. (n.d.). Symptoms of a Stroke. Retrieved November 4, 2019 from https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-women/signs-and-symptoms-in-women/symptoms-of-a-stroke
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