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Tingling in the left arm is a frightening experience and could be a symptom of a serious medical condition. The primary concern someone has if they experience tingling on their left side is that they are having a heart attack, but there are other causes of left arm tingling. In most cases, tingling linked to a heart attack is accompanied by pain and pressure. However, even without these additional symptoms, you shouldn’t ignore tingling in the left arm.
It’s important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing tingling in your left arm or any other unusual or odd symptom. However, if tingling is not a medical emergency, it’s still not something you should ignore.
Left arm tingling, also called paresthesia, occurs when blood flow to the area is interrupted or nerves are damaged.
Some people describe the sensation as “pins and needles,” which is followed by numbness. In some cases, the tingling or numbness is accompanied by burning.
Most Common Causes for Tingling in the Left Arm
There are serious reasons for tingling as mentioned above, but there are also many trivial or moderate causes of tingling. Some of the most common things that cause tingling include:
Poor circulation means blood is not flowing to the affected area as it should. You’ll experience tingling in your left arm if something is interfering with blood flow to the area. It might be something external, such as wearing tight clothing or sleeping on your arm wrong. But it might also occur due to internal reasons, such as venous stasis ulcers or atherosclerosis.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when joint pressure causes tissue constriction, causing tingling. Most people develop carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive motions, such as typing or scrolling on a smartphone.
An injury in the neck, back, or arm can lead to tingling, especially when there is a compressed nerve, ruptured vertebrae, or bulging disk. Some of these injuries heal on their own, while others require surgery or a lifetime of physical therapy.
Your body’s nerves rely on nourishment to function properly. If your nerves do not receive what they need, especially vitamins B12 and D, you can develop many different issues, including tingling. The Everlywell B12 test is a great resource for helping you determine if a specific vitamin deficiency is the cause of tingling in your arm.
More Serious Issues Caused by Tingling in the Left Arm
A heart attack is not the only serious cause of tingling in the left arm. Other serious causes of tingling include:
Vascular disorder occurs when there are issues with the functioning of blood vessels in the body. When vascular disorder causes tingling, it is usually accompanied by muscle weakness and blue fingertips.
If tingling is accompanied by symptoms such as speech issues and light-headedness, it could be a sign of a stroke. Stroke affects blood flow between the heart and brain and problems with blood flow cause tingling.
In addition to stroke, tingling in the left arm is also linked to elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Treating Tingling in the Left Arm
You and your doctor can discuss the best method for treating tingling in your left arm based on the cause of the tingling. Some of the most common treatments include:
- Vitamin therapy
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
You should also seek medical attention and treatment for tingling in the left arm. However, in addition to the suggestions offered by your doctor, there are also at-home remedies to ease the discomfort of tingling. For example:
- Keeping your arm elevated
- Warm compresses
- Turmeric supplements
Several lifestyle changes are also effective for treating and/or preventing tingling, including:
- Staying hydrated
- Limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol
- Replacing sugary foods with fresh vegetables and fruits
- Avoiding tobacco
- Taking supplements that promote blood circulation
- Implementing cardiovascular exercise at least five times a week
If you notice tingling in your left arm and it doesn’t ease after a few minutes of moving or elevating your arm, you should contact your doctor. Emergency medical attention is recommended if tingling is accompanied by:
- Speech impairment
- Difficulty moving
- Loss of motor control
- Muscle weakness
For many people, tingling in the left arm is not an emergency medical condition. However, the first step should be to rule out any serious problems. Once you know you are not experiencing a heart attack or stroke, and your doctor has eliminated the possibility of a serious medical condition, you can find ways to treat and hopefully alleviate the tingling.
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Devon Andre. “Common Causes of Tingling in Left Arm: Simple Exercises and Tips.” Bel Marra Health - Breaking Health News and Health Information, 16 Jan. 2017, www.belmarrahealth.com/tingling-left-arm-common-causes-prevention-tips/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2021.
CDC. “Heart Health Information: About Heart Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 May 2019, www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm.