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Article taken from the Daily Mail

Gemma Atkinson discussed concerns regarding her health on Wednesday as she reflected on her father David’s death to a heart attack when she was 17. 

The former Hollyoaks actress, 36, revealed his death at the young age of 52 took her whole family by surprise and made her reflect on her own mortality. 

Speaking on Steph’s Packed Lunch, she declared the experience made her realise she needs to look out for health issues and not feel ‘ashamed’ of attending the doctors. Gemma Atkinson discusses health fears following father’s tragic death

Gemma said: ‘My dad passed away from a heart attack. He was 52. My dad had chest pains for about four to five days. But, because he was physically so healthy, it was the last thing on his mind. 

‘One weekend, we went to a racetrack with him, and again he got the chest pains. ‘The following day at work his colleague found him hunched over his desk. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t move. They rung the ambulance and said “he’s having a heart attack.”‘

Discussing the moment she discovered her father died, Gemma continued: ‘They took him to the hospital and two or three days later they said he was going to be “OK”. 

‘We prepared for him to come home, and then that evening my mum came into my room and said that the hospital had called – he’d had another massive heart attack in his sleep and that had killed him.’

Gemma then spoke to host Steph McGovern about the importance of awareness regarding heart attack symptoms. She said: ‘It’s knowing the signs and the triggers and not being ashamed. 

‘My father would have had to have his leg hanging off to go to the doctors. And we all should have said go. But because he was so strong, we didn’t think anything of it.’

She went to express her concerns over having a possible congenital heart condition.

Gemma added: ‘I’ve never had a full heart check and I am definitely going to get it done. My granddad died as well of heart disease. But it has got me thinking now, I’ve got my daughter. 

‘Never feeling ashamed or embarrassed about going and getting checked. Your life is not worth gambling with. The NHS is great and there for a reason. Don’t be afraid to get help.’

Gemma will be having some cardiac tests at Venturi Cardiology when she officially opens the new facility on 28th June.