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Gemma Atkinson, 36, discusses her father David’s death when she was 17 due to a heart attack

‘It’s knowing the signs and not being ashamed’: Gemma Atkinson, 36, reveals her health fears after her father David’s traumatic death when she was 17 due to a heart attack

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

The actress and former glamour model, 36, revealed his shocking passing at the 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. 

‘I lost my dad after a heart attack’: Gemma Atkinson discussed concerns regarding her health on Wednesday as she reflected on her father David’s death when she was 17 due to heart attack

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”. 

Honest: The actress and former glamour model, 36, revealed his shocking passing at the age of 52 took her whole family by surprise and made her reflect on her own mortality

Honest: The actress and former glamour model, 36, revealed his shocking passing at the age of 52 took her whole family by surprise and made her reflect on her own mortality

‘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 Stephanie Rose 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.

Scary: Speaking on Steph¿s Packed Lunch, she said the experience made her realise she needs to look out for health issues and not feel 'ashamed' of attending the doctors

Scary: Speaking on Steph’s Packed Lunch, she said the experience made her realise she needs to look out for health issues and not feel ‘ashamed’ of attending the doctors

Incident: Gemma recalled: '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'

Incident: Gemma recalled: ‘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’

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.’

Also on Wednesday’s edition of the daytime show, Gemma revealed her mother took her to the doctors when she was 17 to get contraception, as she encouraged open discussions between parents and children. 

She said: ‘My mum took me to the doctors to put me on the contraceptive pill. 

Open: Also on the show, Gemma revealed her mother took her to the doctors when she was 17 to get contraception, as she encouraged open discussions between parents and children

Open: Also on the show, Gemma revealed her mother took her to the doctors when she was 17 to get contraception, as she encouraged open discussions between parents and children

‘I think it’s great the conversation’s been had. I would love to think I could have that conversation with my daughter.

‘Just before I was turning 17, my mum had the chat with me. And my mum actually took me to the doctors to put me on the contraceptive pill. That was great that she did that.’

Gemma is the mother to daughter Mia, who she shares with Strictly Come Dancing professional Gorka Márquez. 

Steph’s Packed Lunch airs weekdays at 12.30pm on Channel 4. 

Family: Gemma is the mother to daughter Mia, who she shares with Strictly Come Dancing professional Gorka Márquez (pictured in December)

Family: Gemma is the mother to daughter Mia, who she shares with Strictly Come Dancing professional Gorka Márquez (pictured in December)

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