Over the years, we've shared many stories of women who had serious health concerns ignored by their doctors.
But we've also highlighted another dangerous trend: women ignoring their own health symptoms until it's too late.
Early risers will recognize Heather Childers, who hosts the 4 a.m. news hour Fox & Friends First.
Childers has an important warning for women after ignoring a health crisis almost left her paralyzed.
"I ignored warnings signs my body was sending me saying something was wrong."
In a story addressed to her concerned fans, Childers detailed the "shocking medical emergency" that kept her off the airwaves from July until September.
It turns out she needed emergency surgery to avoid being "paralyzed for the rest of my life" by a little-known spinal condition.
Childers says her story is a wake-up call to other women not to ignore their health symptoms - like she did.
"I ignored warnings signs my body was sending me saying something was wrong," Childers wrote. "I won’t do that again – and hope none of you will do that either."
Those warning signs included nagging symptoms that have troubled the TV host for years.
She said her legs would go numb without warning. "[Not] a tingly-numb, but a dead and heavy numb feeling where I would beat my legs to try to make the feeling come back."
She would also experience painful, shooting cramps through her legs, and has had a stiff neck for years. But Childers always found something - her diet, her sleep schedule - to blame for her symptoms.
It took a health crisis on air for Childers to take her condition seriously.
"You could hit a pothole the wrong way and be paralyzed right now."
Childers had visited the E.R. during the last election season, thinking that pain in her arms was the sign of a heart attack.
But when tests revealed nothing was wrong with her heart, Childers blamed the pains on a lack of sleep and too much caffeine.
In the months to come, her symptoms would only get worse. Her legs would give out suddenly, making her collapse. Her arms became so weak that she couldn't wash her hair.
In spite of her pain and suffering, Childers refused to even call in sick until she experienced a frightening new symptom while hosting Fox & Friends one morning.
"Shooting pains started ricocheting through the right side of my head," she remembered. "I made it through the show and went home immediately afterward, hoping my ferocious headache would go away."
"The next day, thinking I was better, I went back to work and it happened again – only worse. Again, I went immediately home, hoping the terrible pain would go away. It didn’t – for four long days."
Childers finally visited a hospital, where an MRI and reflex test quickly identified what was wrong.
A car accident in her teenage years had compressed Childers' spine, creating a condition called spinal stenosis, which was causing the symptoms throughout her body.
"There’s a 100% chance you won’t be walking when you are older," her doctor said. "You could hit a pothole the wrong way and be paralyzed right now."
"Ignoring a health problem won’t make it go away."
Childers quickly scheduled emergency surgery, and spent more than a month recovering.
Her condition can't be cured, but its symptoms can be stopped from progressing, and Childers is already back on her feet.
"Take it from me," she warns, "ignoring a health problem won’t make it go away."
"Don't make excuses when you are dealing with real physical symptoms, or wait for a medical emergency before you see a doctor."
Childers is back on the air this week, and has thanked her many fans and well-wishers who prayed for a speedy recovery.
"You are so kind and thoughtful," she wrote. "And now your prayers have been answered and am back at Fox News! God bless you all."
In case you were curious, getting up to host a 4 a.m. news show is not easy. Childers wakes up at 1 a.m. and goes to bed around 8:30 p.m. - that's just 4 1/2 hours of sleep!
"I know it’s not good for me," Childers admits, "but I’ve been going on about 4 1/2 hours of sleep a night for five years, and I’m still alive!"
Her secret to getting up so early?
"I have two phones that go off. One has three alarms on it, and the other has two – so that’s five alarms," Childers said.
"Then I have a standard alarm clock that’s got two more on it. It’s crazy if you heard my alarms going off in the morning. But ... I’ve never missed a day yet."
[H/T: Fox News]