KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CBS Local) — A Missouri woman said she nearly died of a heart condition at age 28 because she tried to ignore the symptoms.

Zearlisha Kinchelow of Kansas City thought she had a cold. She is a nursing student and busy raising her 7-year-old son, so she said she just kept going.

“I would walk a short distance. I couldn’t not breathe, so I started taking my son’s inhaler, like, treating myself,” she told KMBC.

A week later, Kinchelow had blurry vision and went to the emergency room for help.

“I could not lay down flat because I’d lay down, it felt like I was suffocating,” she said.

She was told her heart was functioning at only 10 percent.

“I was literally scared to death. Was I about to die? I had no clue or knowledge of heart failure in my family,” she said.

Kinchelow was diagnosed with broken heart syndrome, “a temporary heart condition that’s often brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions,” disrupting your heart’s normal pumping function, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“You hear people, like, ‘Oh, she’s brokenhearted.’ But I did not know it was an actual diagnosis until it happened to me,” she said.

Kinchelow’s aunt had died two weeks before, which may have triggered the condition, which is also known as stress cardiomyopathy.

“If I’d known some of the key factors about heart disease and heart failure, I could probably have gotten help sooner and not been at 10 percent when I found out,” she said.

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