"The palpitations got so bad I thought I was having a heart attack," Gemma told the magazine. "I called an ambulance and the paramedics did an ECG [electrocardiogram] and said: 'We need to take you to hospital.'"
She continued: "I said to myself: 'Great, this is it. My time is up.' But, thank God, it was a condition called costochondritis, which can cause severe chest pain and happens because of coughing or an infection."
"I think I got it from being constantly run down and ill. I do think I've got long COVID because I haven't been able to shift it and it's been in my system for months," she added.
"I've been so unwell, and it doesn’t matter what I take or do, it's not going."
At the time of her hospitalisation, Gemma thanked NHS healthcare workers who came to her home. "Thank you to all the amazing people that helped me this evening," she wrote in the caption of an Instagram post.
"I really hope you get all you deserve. Really thankful in these current times to have such an amazing service #payriseforkeyworkers."
Gemma also told OK! that she's now trying sub-zero cryotherapy to try and "shock her system" back to health.
"I've been going for loads of sessions at Ice Health Cryotherapy in Kensington, and I use this thermal shock machine, which you get into standing up and your head pops out of the top," Gemma explained.
"It goes from a temperature of +70C to -196C in seconds. Cryotherapy helps with any illness and it really boosts your immune system. I'd love my own machine at home but they're about £250,000 to buy."
The Only Way Is Essex airs on ITVBe.
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