Dying from a broken heart, on times of Covid-19

One more thing to keep you awake at night, although Covid-19 is a respiratory illness, a study published by the American Health Association and the National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute shows that cardiovascular complications are common in Covid-19 patients, and these complications may increase the risk of death.

As we know, the risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease include obesity, being sedentary, a diet high in sugar and saturated fats and smoking.

The study found that close to 13% of participants had been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition including hypertension, coronary artery disease and angina before being admitted for Covid-19. Many other hospitalized for the illness had one or more of the risk factors mentioned above. After admission, over 10% of patients had a documented cardiac injury including arrhythmia, angina or heart attack.

Patients who had cardiovascular disease or at least one of the risk factors like being obese, being sedentary or smokers before developing Covid-19, or who suffered cardiovascular complications while hospitalized for Covid-19, had higher rates of in-hospital death. It is clear for this meta-analysis that heart health and healthy habits are critical in determining outcome in Covid-19 patients.

A wider perspective

The link between cardiovascular disease, risk factors and viral infections is not unique to Covid-19. Other medical studies have reported cardiac injuries in individuals hospitalized for influenza, and it did increase the indices of death in other recent pandemics like SARS-CoV2. These studies show that cardiac damage is a known risk of viral infections and that pre-existing cardiovascular disease and/or at least one risk factor worsen the patient outcome.

What is concerning about Covid-19 is the high rate of infection and a relatively high rate of hospitalization compared to other viral infections, like influenza. In the USA, the Center for Disease Control estimates that between 140,000 and 960,00 people are hospitalized each year for influenza. In contrast, by September 1, 2020, the Statista reported over 6 million cases registered and over 183,000 deaths among the patients.

The conclusion is that more severe illnesses are associated with higher rates of cardiac injury. Where no-one really knows what the long-term effects of Covid-19 may be, one thing seems to be sure: unless we take our health and this pandemic to heart, the consequences will be heartbreaking.

How to mend a broken heart

The best advice I can possibly come up to give to the younger me is: Don’t let anyone or anything break your heart!

Here, today and more than ever is important to keep our hearts healthy.

Look after your health and your heart will love you back for a long time!

Remember to keep an eye on those good habits:

  • If you smoke, stop now!

  • If you don’t move much, start moving, 15 minutes walk a day may save your life.

  • If you sleep six or fewer hours a day, goo to bed early.

  • If you suffer from stress, learn to control it.

  • If your diet is not that great, fix it.

  • If you are overweight, well, you know what to do!

All of us, together and united as the human race family, will overcome the threat of Covid-19. We will get it under control, and life will go back to normal. But that doesn’t mean that another virus won’t come knocking at our door! This will, unfortunately, may happen again.

Be ready, be healthy and be prepared for anything that may come your way!

And if you need help working on or improving any healthy habits, give me a shout! I am here to help.

In health & fitness

Itzel Ramirez-Garcia

Health Coach

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