Why Does Your Left Arm Feel Heavy?

Why Does Your Left Arm Feel Heavy?

With the thousands of diseases out there today, you should always take time to educate yourself with any signs that you might possible have them. Fortunately our bodies are full of clues that, if we pay attention to them enough, could potentially save our life.

Take for example our left arm. Your left arm when it feels heavy or painful could be a sign of heart problems because of how close it is to the heart. While it might not be the case most of the time, you should never dismiss that possibility either.

There are many reasons why your left arm might feel heavy. Here are some of them:


Improper Circulation

Like all parts of our body, our left arm is heavily dependent on the nutrients that the blood in our vessels provides. That is the reason why, if your left arm feels weak or heavy, it could be a sign that it is not getting adequate nutrients due to poor circulation.

While it could be caused by some mundane factors like outside pressure, it might be a sign of a more serious condition like peripheral artery disease, diabetes, or varicose veins. Get checked by your physician if the heaviness/pain in your left arm persists.

Possible Interventions:

If you have a sedentary lifestyle, then that is probably to blame. Proper diet and exercise will help get your circulation normal again. If you have an underlying health problem, it might be a good idea to consult a doctor to know further options. Also consider cutting back on smoking, alcohol and caffeine since they occlude the blood vessels, causing decreased circulation.



Panic Attack

Panic attacks and heart attacks have many things in common, both can come from the left arm and have sudden onset. But unlike a heart attack, panic attacks are only localised to a specific spot, and does not radiate to other parts of the body like a heart attack would. The heaviness in your left arm in a panic attack is also fleeting and will go away if you change your position.

Although their symptoms are similar, trained personnel can differentiate between the two. It is always a good idea to get yourself checked out if you feel heaviness or pain in your left arm.

Possible Interventions:

Exercise and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can do wonders against panic attacks. If however, you have panic disorder, a therapist should be consulted to know what further options you have down the road; although expect meditation and yoga to be on that list as well.

Related Article: 5 Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack All Women NEED To Know!  



Lymph is a clear fluid that helps your body by removing waste and toxins that are in it. However, they can pool up in certain parts of the body, which then causes the tissues in that part of the body to swell. That condition is called edema. It can happen anywhere, in the arm and hand, breast, trunk, and in the underarm.

Lymphedema often manifests itself as feeling heaviness, discomfort, tingling or even an increase of warmth around the affected area.

Possible Interventions:

Your doctor will probably base his treatment by figuring out what stage your lymphedema is currently at. Possible treatments include but are not limited to, bandaging, usage of sleeves and pumps. These are to return the proper flow of lymph inside your body. Traditional treatments like exercise is also a great way to get your lymphatic system back to track.



Unfortunately medications will sometimes carry side or adverse effects together with the therapeutic effects it brings to your body. One of those side effects is that you will feel heaviness in your left arm. It is a good idea to consult your doctor if your arm feels heavy after starting a new medication regimen.

There are certain situations that should be kept in mind when proving that the medication is the cause of heaviness in your left arm, such as:

  • * Statins, drugs that are used to help lower down low density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) in your body can have side effects that causes muscle and joint pain. In severe cases, patients have reported a tingling in the nerve endings of the hands and feet, or worse, a complete loss of feeling in them. Consult your doctor if you feel these symptoms at once.
  • * Chemotherapy drugs are drugs that, although help destroy harmful cancer cells, can also cause damage to harmless, and sometimes even important cells in our body. They can cause damage to our nerves, which leads to pain, weakness, numbness,, or feeling heaviness in our extremities. Termed neuropathy, this damage must be dealt with at once to avoid more serious complications.

Possible Intervention: Consult with your trusted physician if you ever feel any of the above symptoms when taking new drugs. Your doctor might change your medication regimen so that serious problems will be avoided.


Heart Problems

In America, surprisingly, only 20% of the people who complain of heaviness or pain in their left arm actually are heart related problems such as heart attack or angina. Even if this is the case, it is better to get checked out if your left arm is manifesting heaviness or pain; after all, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

To help narrow down unnecessary visits to your doctor, we have compiled a list of possible heart attack symptoms:

  • * Sudden shortness of breath even while at rest could be a sign of a heart attack. It can also be coupled with a sensation felt around your
  • * The left side of the chest, when feeling painful, pressured, squeezing or full, could be a sign of a heart attack. These sensations will be most likely brief; they can be mild or severe. However if they come multiple times in a short amount of time, or happen even if you are at rest, it is most likely a sign of a heart attack.
  • * The sensations above will most like spread from your left arm to your other arm, the neck, shoulders, back and even to your stomach.
  • * Shortness of breath and pain around your chest, shoulders and back can be accompanied by unusual fatigue and nausea and vomiting in women that can be felt for days.
  • * Cold sweats and dizziness could also be potentials signs of a heart attack.


What to look for when trying to differentiate a heart attack from other possible diseases when heaviness in the left arm is felt?

The line between a heart attack and other diseases when discomfort, pain or heaviness in the left arm is experienced is that when a heart attack happens, the pain will unexpectedly happen and will stay the same even after you have moved the affected extremity.

Related Article: This is What Happens To Your Brain and Heart During Cardiac Arrest

The heart is a fragile and very, very important organ. It pays to know more about the possible symptoms of a heart attack as well as having the proper channels ready should it occur. The average amount of time that the heart can sustain itself after damage is around 20 minutes; after that, any damage to the heart that is left untreated is probably permanent.


Although science has done its best to list possible signs of a heart attack, unfortunately symptoms will vary from person to person based on their age, gender, or current health condition. It is always a good idea to have yourself get checked up regularly by a health care provider to make sure you are as healthy as you can possibly be.