Soap opera legend Susan Lucci revealed in an interview on Good Morning America that she had a heart attack scare in October of 2018 that would later require surgery and the addition of stents to open two blocked arteries to her heart.
The former All My Children legend said in the interview that she is telling her story to help viewers, and women, in particular, to “listen to your symptoms and act on them.” The actress, who has always lived a healthy lifestyle, revealed that she had never been hospitalized in her life except for the births of her children with Helmut Huber: Liza and Andreas.
Lucci revealed to GMA that when she was finally hospitalized for her health issues, she discovered one artery was already 90 percent blocked and the other was 75 percent blocked.
The soap diva remarked that she thought the symptoms she was experiencing in October 2018 “would pass,” thinking they were “nothing.” She felt those same discomforts twice. When she felt it a third time, remarking that it felt like “an elephant was sitting on my chest,” she allowed herself to be admitted to a hospital. She was in a boutique at the time of the third episode.
The store manager drove Lucci to a local hospital where it was determined that her arteries were blocked enough to have stents put in immediately. Lucci was thankful that it was the manager’s concern that was deep enough to force her to go to the hospital.
She stated in the interview, “I thank goodness that I was not home because had I been home I probably would’ve said, ‘Oh, I just need to lay down. I’ll have some water… then, I’ll feel fine.'”
Lucci implored her fans to keep an eye on their own health and put their needs at the top of their to-do list, citing that women lead such busy lives they often neglect their own health, dismissing out of the ordinary symptoms as “nothing.”
Lucci is happy to take up a platform of women’s health and was thankful when her doctor told her that after examining the former soap star, determined she had the “heart of a 20-year-old.” She will continue to monitor her health more carefully than before, she explained, and will listen to any symptoms she thinks are out of the ordinary.
She also noted the experience and story on her official Instagram account.
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On a late October afternoon, I had a wakeup call. Narrowly missing a severe heart attack, I realized how vulnerable life is and how incredibly grateful I am to be here today. As a working wife, mother and grandmother, I am sure most women will agree we are never at the top of our to-do list. I exercise daily, eat as healthy as possible and yet had a shock of a lifetime when I was told that I had a 90% blockage in the main artery of my heart. I learned that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women, claiming more precious lives every year than all forms of cancer combined. This staggering fact has motivated me to use my voice and my story to help remind women all over the world to make their health a priority. This week, I will walk in the American Heart Association, Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection in honor of all women who have lost their lives, those who are currently battling heart disease and all the fearless survivors. No one should have to die of a heart attack – they just need to listen to their symptoms and act on them. My hope in telling my story is that I can help at least one wife, mother, sister and friend. ❤️ #goredforwomen @goredforwomen @goodmorningamerica @people
ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton revealed after Lucci’s GMA interview that heart attack symptoms are different for women than men. Heart attacks are the number one killer of women in the United States, more than any other disease. Ashton implored viewers that if they are experiencing symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting, sweating, fatigue, and shortness of breath, they should go to a hospital immediately.
The most important thing of all, said Dr. Ashton, is that women should not sugarcoat their symptoms when being seen by a medical professional. Ashton said if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and you go to the emergency room, she said to tell doctors, “I think I’m having a heart attack” because, in women, many medical professionals will not think of a heart attack first.