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Heart health in the time of the coronavirus pandemic
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By the beginning of 2020, when we heard of a novel coronavirus with potentially severe consequences, the race was on to learn everything we could and should about it. Before long, and with so much still to be discovered, an unfortunate trend emerged: COVID-19 posed a particular risk to patients with underlying issues such as heart disease, which is already the leading cause of death in the planet.
Also emerging was a worrying trend that heart patients, who would usually seek routine care or need to access emergency services for non-COVID-related issues, were avoiding hospitals and doctors. Across the board, countries noted this dramatic drop, attributing it to fear of contracting the virus.
The World Heart Federation has produced lots of resources to spread the word on CVD & COVID-19, including prevention, transmission and vulnerability. You can find some of these on the World Heart Day website here and others on the World Heart Federation website here. Please download them and amplify our messaging on your own digital channels.
For people who have underlying health conditions such as heart disease, the message has to be that your hospital, emergency room or doctor’s surgery is safe, and if you need to go, you should. The risks of heart attacks and stroke far outweigh the risks of contracting Covid-19 and time is truly of the essence when heart troubles hit. While telemedicine has been an important resource, it should not be seen as a replacement for in-person care nor should it be interpreted as a measure taken because hospital visits have become unsafe.