Cardiologist and Executive Director of the CDC Million Hearts Initiative Dr. Larry Sperling says there has been a rise in deaths from cardiovascular disease during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, concerns that serious heart conditions can spell trouble for someone who contracts the virus also prompted another message reminding folks to focus on their heart health.
“We know that individuals living with heart disease are at increased risk for COVID-related hospitalizations, six times greater risk of hospitalization and a 12 times greater rate of cardiovascular COVID-related deaths,” Sperling said.
Heart disease continues to be the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. According to Sperling, Virginia is ranked number 19 in the country for stroke-related deaths.
“These are stressful times, and stress and anxiety can impact the heart adversely,” he said. “This is the time to focus on social support.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Sperling said four out of 10 adults are not following through with regular check-ups and many are not seeking emergency medical attention for heart attacks and strokes.
The concerning issue is why the national initiative Million Hearts 2022 started a goal five years ago aiming to prevent one million cardiovascular events by 2022.
“Heart health matters,” said Sperling. “Heart health was important before the pandemic; it is important during the pandemic, and it will be important after the pandemic. This is the time to focus on health and safety for yourself.”
Health experts believe their health PSAs reminding folks to take necessary medication and get to an ER if they’re experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, will inch them closer to that one million life-saving mark.
“Every heart counts,” Sperling said. “Every one out of a million hearts matters.”