Breaking News
More () »

'I'm just glad to be here' | Photographer survives a heart attack in the Smokies

Kellie Sharpe said she is lucky to be alive and hopes her story will help more women understand the signs to look out for.

BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. — Two weeks ago, photographer Kelly Sharpe was in her happy place when something felt really wrong.

"I was in Cades Cove taking pictures of sunrise with a friend when I got a weird feeling in my shoulders like a pinched nerve," Sharpe said. 

That pinch turned into pain, and that pain started to spread. 

"It was moving down into my shoulders and my right arm a little bit, and the back of my head was hurting," she said. 

Sharpe said her friend suggested it could be something worse, and that is when she started to get scared. 

"Something in me said, 'Kellie you might be having as heart attack, she's right,'" she said. 

Her husband would take her to the hospital where she said two cardiac nurses saved her life.

"The two nurses knew I was having a heart attack," Sharpe said. 

Sharpe is one of thousands of women with symptoms that differ compared to when men suffer a heart attack.

Summit Medical Group Dr. Eric Penniman said that fact is really important.

"A big study showed 43% of women don't have classic chest pain when they present," he said. 

According to Penniman, that is compared to 30% of men, and when it comes to women ages 25 to 45 -- it can be deadly.

"About 22% of all causes of death is due to heart disease in that age group," he said. 

For Sharpe, these key points are what saved her life.

"I'm just trying to stick around for my kids and my grand babies," she said. 

After surviving one of the scariest days of her life, she now has a fresh take on living and a new commitment for women and their health.

"I already do....I already do. I'm so glad I'm here... I'm just so glad I'm here," Sharpe said.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out