“I don’t think I really grasped the severity of the situation,” the 72-year-old actress told ET while backstage at the American Heart Association Red Dress Collection Fashion Show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Thursday.
Earlier this week during an interview with Good Morning America, the All My Children star opened up about feeling intense chest pain in October, and going to the hospital to get it checked out. Once there, she learned that she had two blocked arteries: one artery was already 90 percent blocked and the other was 75 percent blocked. That very night, stents were put in.
“There was nothing to give me a warning that I would be having any health issues whatsoever,” Lucci explained to ET. “But I’m thrilled to be back. Everything turned out great. I’m happy, I’m healthy and I was really thrilled to walk the catwalk for the red dress event. I know it just means much more to me!”
Lucci — who looked stunning in a Rubin Singer ball gown for her walk, and expertly recovered from a minor tumble on the runway — shared that she was released from the hospital the following day, and was told that her heart issues stemmed from a mix of genetics and stress.
“For me, stress management is what I’m working on now,” the brunette beauty shared, adding that even though she maintains a healthy diet and lifestyle, there is always “room for improvement.”
After the incident, Lucci wants to share her story with the world, and hopefully help other women pay attention to their symptoms.
“I want to tell my story. I know how lucky I was because I happened to hear that interview with the woman, and for some unknown reason I remembered it,” she expressed. “I just want to be able to tell my story. Maybe it will help a woman [and] save her life.”
As for how this experience has changed her life? Lucci said she’s “learned a great deal” about putting herself first.
“Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer put together, all forms put together,” she stated. “I don’t want to dismiss any cancers. We still have to do our exams and we should! But I learned, let’s take care of everything and let’s give ourselves permission to put ourselves on our own to-do list and listen to our bodies. If someone else out there is having a feeling in their body that is not normal for them, you go ahead and act on it. Take your symptoms and go to the doctor.”
Hear more of Lucci’s health scare in the video below.