COVID-19 & HEART DISEASE

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, medical professionals have clearly communicated that people who are living with preexisting conditions are at a higher risk for contracting the illness and experiencing complications.  When specifying what qualifies as a “preexisting condition”, heart disease has always been listed.

Until recently, there was no data regarding how a heart disease patient specifically may be affected by COVID-19.

On June 15, 2020, the CDC released the following information from a federal study, which concluded at the end of May:

The most common preexisting conditions among patients were heart disease, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.  Approximately 50% of diagnosed patients over the age of 70 reported having heart disease.

Patients who had a preexisting condition were at a much higher risk of being hospitalized and even dying from the virus.

Approximately 24% of people living in the United States with heart disease are Caucasian.  Minorities make up the majority of people with heart disease in the United States.  The same is true for COVID-19.

One of the most shocking realizations of the study is that the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 are most likely underestimates.  Fear of contracting the virus has caused many people to ignore symptoms.  While tests were hard to access at first, there was a rise in the amount of at home deaths.  These people have likely not been counted.  However, case numbers continue to rise.

There has also been a decline in the number of people who are coming to the hospital due to heart attacks.  Some studies report a 50% decline in heart attack patients.  While more research needs to be done, many doctors have concluded that patients are afraid to seek medical attention for fear of contracting the coronavirus.

While COVID-19 has shocked our country and the world, heart disease remains the #1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States.  COVID-19 has simply amplified that fact.

References:

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6924e2.htm?s_cid=mm6924e2_w

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/06/well/live/coronavirus-doctors-hospitals-emergency-care-heart-attack-stroke.html

The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html

USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/06/15/covid-19-far-deadlier-elderly-those-heart-disease-diabetes/3191805001/

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