'Below Deck Mediterranean' 's Sandy Yawn Describes Moment She Realized She Was Having Heart Attack

The Bravo star said she started feeling "odd" during a workout class — and later learned that she had high blood pressure

Captain Sandy Yawn realized she was having a heart attack midway through an exercise class.

Opening up to PeopleTV‘s Reality Check, the Below Deck Mediterranean star, 54, revealed that she suffered a heart attack despite her otherwise clean bill of health, describing exactly what was going through her mind during the scary experience.

Yawn was working out in a SoulCycle class when she began to notice subtle symptoms — and the reality TV personality took it upon herself to quietly see her way to a nearby hospital.

“I remember thinking I was going to clip off the bike so I don’t fall, I didn’t want to disrupt the class, and I certainly wasn’t going to call 911 in the middle of Beverly Hills,” she says. “So I decided to call an Uber, and then I called my sister — and I survived.”

Recalling what she’d heard from experts about warning signs that may indicate a cardiac episode for women (which, she noted, can be different from what men encounter), Yawn said she felt “odd.”

“I could not swallow,” she says, “… I was watching my heart rate on my watch and it didn’t go down, and I started to feel lightheaded. I didn’t have any numbness, then when I got off my bike and walked outside, I started to feel the tingle in my left arm, exactly how described.”

Zev Schmitz/Bravo
Zev Schmitz/Bravo

The health scare was brought on, Yawn says, from never being diagnosed with high blood pressure, a condition that went “unchecked” and led to SCAD, or spontaneous coronary artery dissection, a tear in the heart’s blood vessels.

“My health is great and it was great. That’s misleading to think that you have to be unhealthy to have a heart attack, that is not it. My veins are clean,” she says. “… I didn’t know I had high blood pressure, so as a result, I had what’s called SCAD, which they don’t have a lot of information on … I didn’t have blockage, it was a tear.”

After four days in the hospital, the Bravo star was cleared — no SoulCycle for 12 weeks, she says — and now she’s using her experience in partnership with the American Heart Association to raise awareness for heart health.

“A lot’s affected when you have a heart attack,” says Yawn. “My career is solid, I passed a physical — in fact, I have a heart of a 20-year-old; I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, it had nothing to do with that. It was high blood pressure that was unchecked, and also I’m sure my diet probably had a lot to do with it.”

Watch the full episode of Reality Check, streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the @PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

Yawn — who announced in August that her girlfriend, singer Leah Shafer has breast cancer — explained that she discontinued her Adderall prescription after her heart attack, fearing it played a part in the episode.

“I have a hard time focusing — until I’m docking a boat, that’s when I can laser-focus because it’s so intense — and … I had a prescription of Adderall,” Yawn says. “I started taking the prescription as prescribed, and I believe it was a combination of the Adderall, topped with the high blood pressure and on SoulCycle.”

She adds: “My doctor recommended I don’t take that medication anymore, and since then I’m fine. I still have a hard time focussing, so I gotta work on that part, and I was told to meditate.”

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