For over two years, the direct harm of COVID-19 has been visible in the flooded intensive care units and rigorous statistics. Currently, the focus is on some of its indirect effects.
Studies have linked pandemics to fatal heart disease, an increased incidence of stroke, and death from addiction-related problems. Experts have not yet identified the exact cause of these connections, but their effects can be long-lasting.
Regarding heart health, part of the problem is that people often avoid or delay treatment because of the fear of COVID-19, cardiologists, epidemiologists and prevention at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago. Dr. Donald Lloyd Jones, Chairman of Medicine, said.
“People have lost contact with their usual source of health care,” said Lloyd Jones, president of the American Heart Association. “And there was a dramatic difference in blood pressure control rates and diabetes control rates. People couldn’t check with their doctors to know their numbers and make sure they were controlled. “
He said the harm of such delayed care is not limited to the short term. “It will last for a long time and will have a spillover effect over the years to come.”
Lloyd-Jones was a co-author of a recently published study. JAMA network open This shows that the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke surged in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, after a downward trend over the years. Even after adjusting for aging, the risk of dying from heart disease increased by 4.3% and stroke by 6.4%. The increase was highest among blacks, who were twice as likely to die of stroke and five times more likely to die of heart disease than whites.
Studies show that possible factors include overcrowding of hospitals, reduced medical visits, reduced compliance, and increased barriers to healthy lifestyle behavior.
That discovery was just one of several of the increased mortality rates during the first year of the pandemic.
A JAMA Neurology A study of Medicare subscribers aged 65 and over found an increased risk of death from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease from March to December 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that black and Hispanic women have high mortality rates during or shortly after. There are more pregnancies in 2020 than in 2019. Studies also show that deaths associated with alcohol and drug overdose have also increased.
Dr. Patricia Best, an intervention cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said the statistics reflect the overwhelming challenges the hospital faced from the wave of COVID-19 patients.
For example, “there was a transportation problem where we couldn’t get from the ambulance to the hospital because we didn’t have a bed,” says Best. “And there was a long time waiting for patients to be transferred from one hospital with a bed for proper care to another.”
Routine care has also diminished, she said, “because there was a period when patients were unable to enter their doctor’s office.” Or, people who were unemployed with health insurance couldn’t see a doctor or fill out a prescription because of the cost.
Dr. Conitzao, a cardiologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said it exacerbated existing disparities in care.
According to her, medical professionals need more than simply instructing the most deprived individuals to get out of unhealthy situations such as poverty and lack of access to health foods. “Do you think it really can be done by others?” Government agencies and health agencies need to make structural changes, Tsao said.
Still, individuals can take steps to protect themselves.
- Be careful and get back on track on a regular basis. “It’s safe,” Lloyd Jones said. “It’s important. Work with your doctor, know your number, and plan how we’re going to bring things back into control.”
- According to Tsao, he will resume a healthy routine that includes physical activity, a nutritious diet, and proper sleep.
- When dealing with addiction, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Department provides a national helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) or by texting the zip code to HELP4U (435748). To do.
- If you or your loved one has symptoms of a serious problem, do not ignore them. “During the pandemic, we saw many people coming very late with a heart attack, where there is little we can do for it,” Best said. “And that’s one of the things that increased mortality.” If you experience chest discomfort or other symptoms of a heart attack, or if you or your loved one experiences stroke symptoms such as drooping faces or difficulty speaking. If you develop, you need to call 911.
- Get vaccinated. “If you get the COVID vaccine, you are less likely to get the COVID,” says Best. “And you’re less likely to be hospitalized for COVID. It’s less likely to be one of the factors that reduce the resources of everyone else.”
- Relieve stress. “Stress negatively affects many factors related to the heart, such as sleep, blood pressure, and the ability to lose weight,” Lloyd Jones said. For example, when exercising, “I give my body a pop-off valve for some of that stress.” Rebuilding social connections will also reduce stress and help people “return to a good and enjoyable life for your mind and brain,” he said.
Heart disease may remain the number one killer in the United States indefinitely due to the long-term effects of COVID-19
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