February is Heart Health Month. As the world continues to adjust to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, cardiovascular health remains a top public health priority. Heart disease and stroke continue to be the #1 and #5 leading causes of death in the U.S. The health of your heart can affect your risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. As cities continue to open up and threats of new variances of COVID continue, protecting your heart is more crucial than ever.
The deaths from COVID-19 for people with cardiovascular disease is approximately 10.5%. Skipping appointments or being lax with your heart health plan in the short-term can lead to long-term health issues, such as heart attack and stroke. Poor heart health also puts you at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19 and dying from the virus. There is a compelling relationship between COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease, There are more cardiovascular disease related deaths during this pandemic. Some individuals who contract COVID also develop heart conditions after infection. Early data also indicates that people of color become disproportionately impacted, and have a higher death rate from COVID-19. Black people are more vulnerable to cardiovascular and stroke risks and social determinants of health.
Those with heart conditions may find that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction are a few ways to handle heart disease and high blood pressure. The stress of pandemic limits the ability to get outside and stay active. This can make it harder to manage heart conditions but it is not impossible.
With the pandemic, stress and anxiety for many is at an all-time high. Living with uncertainty can make it difficult to remain motivated to eat better or get active. Stress and anxiety can impact your blood pressure and heart health negatively. It is important to make mental health, increased physical activity and eating healthier a priority. This coupled with the CDC recommendations to reduce your risk of contracting COVID all help to ensure a healthy heart.
Protecting your Heart during a pandemic is more important than ever.
Shera Strange is a writer and fitness professional. Find her on social media @LinkedIn: Shera Strange and Facebook: Strange Fitness.