- By Laurel J. Kelly
In the Loop: Young, healthy woman says heart attack ‘saved my life’
Beth Shelburne chalked up her symptoms to a panic attack after a particularly stressful day at work as a news anchor and reporter. Her eventual diagnosis led her to Mayo Clinic.
Beth Shelburne had spent the day finishing a big story. But when the 6 p.m. news ran, her story didn't. Beth, then an anchor and investigative reporter at WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama, "left work in an angry huff," she writes on WBRC.com, feeling that her 11-hour day had been wasted. On her way home, she stopped at the grocery store. While there she began to feel hot and clammy and experienced a tightening in her throat and chest, "like invisible hands were trying to choke me." She chalked the experience up to a panic attack — something she'd experienced as a college student decades earlier — and headed home.
At home, Beth's symptoms intensified. She began to sweat. The pain "squeezed and radiated into my arms, jaw and eventually my teeth, like an electric current traveling through my body," she writes. Beth took a bath — and two aspirin — and eventually the symptoms went away. She told herself it couldn't have been a heart attack. She was "a healthy 43-year-old who exercised and ate vegetables." But the experience nagged at her, so the next morning she researched both heart attack and panic attack. Her symptoms fell squarely on the heart attack list. That's when, she writes, "I felt my first thread of ice cold fear."
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.