Lack of exercise, access to unhealthy foods and shaking up your regular routine can all lead to increased chances of heart disease during a pandemic. Most alarming, many are not seeking the essential, emergent heart care they need right now because of a fear of going to the hospital.
"An important message we are hoping to provide the community is that the hospitals are safe," says Dr. Vamsee Yaganti, cardiologist at St. Mark's Hospital. "The downside of not coming to the hospital with anything that qualifies as a cardiac emergency is much higher than the COVID-19 infection itself."
Dr. Yaganti continues, "One in four deaths in America are associated with cardiovascular disease, which is much more than currently associated with COVID-19. So if you have symptoms of heart attack, congestive heart failure or other heart conditions, don't hesitate to seek immediate care. Many of these conditions are very time critical."
Along with seeking immediate care, including calling 911 for symptoms of heart attack or stroke, here are some other tips for staying heart healthy while staying at home during the pandemic:
Heart Healthy Tips:
- It’s time to start exercising again. Even just walking, while practicing social distance, can be helpful. Consider taking advantage of exercise videos that you can use at home.
- Be cautious about starting a high-intense workout regime. Seek medical advice before you begin.
- Eat a heart healthy diet and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Consider grocery or meal home-delivery services, if going out is a concern.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
- Engage your family and friends through digital platforms so that you can stay connected to your support system.
Signs of Heart Attack:
Don't ignore these possible symptoms. Call 911 immediately if you or a loved one suspect that any of these symptoms could be a heart attack:
- Severe, persistent or recurring chest pain or tightness
- Pain that radiates outward
- Feeling short of breath, dizzy, faint, cold and clammy
- Rapid heartbeat
- Heart attack symptoms more common in women:
- Extreme, unexpected fatigue
Take our heart risk assessment to calculate your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and help prioritize care for your most harmful risk factors.