Can chest pain for 5 days be a possible heart attack or just muscular pain?

My boyfriend will be 50 in a few weeks, obviously is at the prime age for a heart attack. Last week before this chest discomfort start he was doing some heavy lifting. He waited for almost a week to tell me that he had this pain and is blowing it off that it's due to the lifting. He says that if it was a heart attack that he would've been dead by now.

Written By Evie Neumann

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  • Cia February 9, 2009, 2:24 pm

    When chest pain strikes it can be an alarming situation. Most people go straight to thinking they are having a heart attack, and sometimes they are right. But chest pain does not always involve the heart. In fact sometimes it can related to your lungs, stomach, stress, or simply your muscles and bones. Chest pain is nearly always amplified by the anxiety that people feel when they first take note of it. The way to help yourself and others around you is after you dial 9-1-1 to try and remain calm, take a few deep breaths and relax. I will endeavor to give you the knowledge you need to help you feel better and seek further help when it is needed.

    Many people with chest pain fear a heart attack. However, there are many possible causes of chest pain. Some causes are mildly inconvenient, while other causes are serious, even life-threatening. Any organ or tissue in your chest can be the source of pain, including your heart, lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, tendons, or nerves.

    Angina is a type of heart-related chest pain. This pain occurs because your heart is not getting enough blood and oxygen. Angina pain can be similar to the pain of a heart attack.

    Angina is called stable angina when your chest pain begins at a predictable level of activity. (For example, when you walk up a steep hill.) However, if your chest pain happens unexpectedly after light activity or occurs at rest, this is called unstable angina. This is a more dangerous form of angina and you need to be seen in an emergency room right away.

    Chest pain can also be related to problems with your digestive system. These include stomach ulcer, gallbladder disease, gallstones, indigestion, heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux (when acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus).

    Ulcer pain burns if your stomach is empty and feels better with food. Gallbladder pain often gets worse after a meal, especially a fatty meal.

    If injury, over-exertion, or coughing have caused muscle strain, your chest wall is often tender or painful when you press a finger at the location of the pain. This can often be treated at home. Try acetaminophen or ibuprofen, ice, heat, and rest.

    If you know you have asthma or angina, follow the instructions of your doctor and take your medications regularly to avoid flare-ups.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional
    Call 911 if:

    You have sudden crushing, squeezing, tightening, or pressure in your chest.
    Pain radiates to your jaw, left arm, or between your shoulder blades.
    You have nausea, dizziness, sweating, a racing heart, or shortness of breath.
    You know you have angina and your chest discomfort is suddenly more intense, brought on by lighter activity, or lasts longer than usual.
    Your angina symptoms occur at rest.
    You have sudden sharp chest pain with shortness of breath, especially after a long trip, a stretch of bedrest (for example, following an operation), or other lack of movement that can lead to a blood clot in your leg.
    Know that your risk of heart attack is greater if you have a family history of heart disease, you smoke,use cocaine, are overweight, or you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

    You have a fever or a cough that produces yellow-green phlegm.
    Chest wall pain persists for longer than 3 to 5 days.