Ex-NFL cheerleader diagnoses own rare condition after symptoms dismissed

A former NFL cheerleader is urging others to be vigilant about their health after she claims her chest pain and shortness of breath were repeatedly dismissed as anxiety. Danielle Goldsmith, who spent her fall Sundays cheering on the St. Louis Rams, suffered through three months of painful symptoms before coming up with her own diagnosis, Fox 2 Now St. Louis reported.

“When medical professionals are saying I was crazy, and had anxiety and panic attacks and not to worry about it, and in my mind when you’re told that by medical professionals, you start thinking, ‘Am I crazy?’” she told the news outlet.

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She researched her symptoms and discovered pectus excavatum, which according to the Mayo Clinic is a condition typically noticeable after birth, but can worsen into adulthood and causes a sunken breastbone that can look as if the chest has been scooped out. It’s more common in boys than girls, but severe cases can interfere with the heart and lungs.

In October, Goldsmith was examined at Barnes Jewish St. Louis, and an EKG reportedly revealed that she was “losing 60 percent of my blood flow.”

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She then flew to Phoenix and underwent a corrective surgery to lift her breastbone off her heart and lungs. She has since recovered and is now encouraging patients who are struggling to find a diagnosis through her YouTube channel.

“If medical professionals don’t know enough about your health, you do your own research,” she said.