Saturday, November 19, 2011

What causes the shooting pains down the left arm associated with a heart attack?

Don't worry; I'm not having a heart attack, although a coworker had a scare the other day. It made me wonder how that usually works. In other words, how does a heart attack cause shooting pain down the left arm?|||Aniginal pain can be experienced as nausea, or pain in the back, right arm, neck, jaw or teeth. This is due to the way your internal organs are wired. These visceral nerves are not as well defined as your somatic nerves (the nerves on your skin for example). There's no need for your body to have ever developed these nerves, for example you don't conciously focus on digesting your food. The visceral nerve sensations are poorly defined, confusing your brain and making you think the pain is coming from the arm.|||Anginal pain most often occurs on the left side in most patience. Maybe a doctor could explain why because the internet doesn't.|||You don't necessarily have to have the pain down the arm. I have seen back pain, abdominal pain, across the chest pain....all over. I would not worry about the 'why's' does not really matter, does it???|||I think that it has something to do with narrowing of the major vessels that supplies that part of the body (the arm's not the only place that pain is felt, but also jaw, chest...) and the resulting loss of blood flow and oxygen supply to the tissues. I think that the pain is a direct result of poor oxygen supply to the tissues and is a type of "feedback" from the heart muscle that something's gone awry with the circulation. This is a good question for your doctor next time you visit...

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