"All My Children" star Susan Lucci is opening up about heart disease and sharing her experience of having to undergo emergency heart surgery for the second time following a 2019 surgery during which she had two stents put in her heart.
Speaking on "Good Morning America," the soap veteran explained that she began experiencing the now all-too-familiar symptoms from her first scare, which included shortness of breath as well as discomfort around her ribcage and her back.
"I thought, This is crazy. These are the same kind of symptoms that I had three years ago but it can't be," she said. "But when I lay down, I started to feel a sharp coming-and-going pain in my jaw."
Lucci said she called her doctor, who immediately advised her to go to the emergency room. Several tests later Lucci's doctor informed her she had experienced an 80% blockage in one of her arteries due to plaque buildup. She was rushed to surgery where another stent was put in to open up the blockage.
Now, Lucci is using her experience to reach out to others and to promote awareness of heart disease.
"Listen to your heart and act on [the symptoms]," Lucci said. "Give yourself permission to take good care of yourself. Be your own best friend. Be your own advocate. You'll save your life."
In 2019, doctors found blockages clogging nearly 90% of the artery that supplies most of the blood to Lucci's heart and 75% of another artery. After undergoing emergency surgery to place a stent into each damaged artery, the actress told Variety she contacted her publicist hoping there was a way she could tell her story.
One thing led to another and Lucci soon found herself speaking at the American Heart Association's 15th annual Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection runway event.
"I knew how lucky I was, and I just wanted to pay that forward," Lucci said. "It was so shocking to me.
"I've never had a health issue. I eat superfoods — blueberry, salmon and kale," she added in the interview with Variety. "What I will say is that my message to women is put yourself on your to-do list and listen to your body, and if there's anything unusual, go ahead and take care of it.
"Heart disease kills more women than all cancer combined. I don't think a lot of people know that. I didn't know it."
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