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Jan 27

Heart Disease & COVID-19: Focusing on Exercise, Mental Health, & Nutrition for High-Risk Groups – The Jewish Voice

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February is American Heart Monthand cardiologists from the Mount Sinai Health System are sharing tips on heart disease prevention to lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and COVID-19.

According to the American Heart Association, about one in three people with COVID-19 has cardiovascular disease, making it the most common underlying health condition. COVID-19 patients with underlying conditionsare six times more likely to be hospitalized and 12 times more likely to die than patients without any chronic health problems.Nearly half of adults in the United Statesmore than 121 million peoplehave some type of cardiovascular disease. It is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States; nearly 650,000 die from it every year. Yet heart disease is preventable 80 percent of the time.

Mount Sinai cardiologists say many patients are exercising less during the pandemic. Some are afraid of going outside and potentially exposing themselves to people who may have COVID-19. As a result, a subset of patients have run out of medication, putting them at risk of cardiac complications. Nutrition has become an issue as well: some cardiologists say 25 percent of their patients have gained up to 20 pounds because theyre not eating a healthy diet. A decline in mental health is also a contributing factor for worse eating habits and being less active.

It is critical to stay physically fit and in your best personal health to combat heart disease, COVID-19 infection and the post-COVID effects. We tell our patients that participating in home-exercise programs, taking a short walk, dancing, stretching, and even house cleaning will get them moving and make a difference. Keeping a good mental outlook is also key and its important for people to find ways to ensure that this happens by staying active, meditating, or simply doing things that make them happy, says Icilma Fergus, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Disparities at The Mount Sinai Hospital. During this pandemic some patients have expressed theyre dealing with stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. We discuss techniques to improve their mental and emotional wellness, which carries over to their cardiovascular health.

COVID-19s Impact on the Heart and Recovery

COVID-19 can cause an inflammatory response in the body, along with clotting that can impact the heart and how it functions. Mount Sinai researchers discovered that somehospitalized COVID-19 patients have structural damage after cardiac injury that can be associated with deadly conditions including heart attack, pulmonary embolism, heart failure, and myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart.

Non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients can also experience complications including heart rhythm disorders, hypertension, myocarditis, and chest pain that feels similar to a heart attack.Cardiologists say its important for COVID-19 survivorseven without cardiac symptomsto have a heart examtwo to three weeks after recovery,as there could be residual effects that may go undetected and lead to future health problems.

Foranyone who developed heart issues post-COVID-19, exercise should be delayed two to three weeks after resolution of symptoms including chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath.Remember to go slow as recovery from this illness is not a sprint; it is a marathon, explains Maryann McLaughlin, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Health and Wellness at Mount Sinai Heart.Anyone who has been diagnosed with myocarditis needs to be under a physicians direction when deciding to exercise, and competitive athletes may need three months to recover from the illness before returning to full routine.

Recovered COVID-19 patients with a history of heart attack, coronary artery disease, or cardiac stents, should get a monitored stress test before getting back to a full workout. Anyone who had chest pain while sick with COVID-19 should talk to their doctor about evaluation with an echocardiogram or other cardiac imaging.

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Heart Disease & COVID-19: Focusing on Exercise, Mental Health, & Nutrition for High-Risk Groups - The Jewish Voice

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