I Was Too Busy for Heart Disease Until It Almost Killed Me

Vicky seemed like an ultra-healthy, tennis playing 50-year-old. But then the extreme fatigue hit. The diagnosis? A near total blockage in a heart artery known as the "widow maker." She had an artery-clearing angioplasty, which brought a healthy flush back into her face (it had a grayish tint due to lack of blood flow.) Find out more about her symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and life after she came dangerously close to a major heart attack.
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Extreme fatigue

In the fall of 2006, Vicki Riedel felt more tired than usual. Riedel, the executive director of development at the Emory University Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, had always been pretty athletic—she’d played on a tennis team the previous fall—but she started to feel a mild tightness in her chest when she climbed stairs. It crossed her mind that her symptoms could be heart-related, but she was busy with work and family at the time and dismissed the thought.

By the end of the year Riedel had undergone an angioplasty to remove a major blockage in one of her coronary arteries; she had been this close to a heart attack.

The following slideshow tells Riedel’s story, from diagnosis to treatment to recovery.

Next: My 50th birthday

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