Heart Disease and COVID-19 Don't Mix

2023 Report From the American Heart Association
Heart disease and COVID-19
by Mircea from Pixabay
Dallas (Coronavirus Today)

The number of people dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the U.S. escalated during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest data from the American Heart Association (AHA).

Published by the peer-reviewed journal Circulation, 4.6% more CVD-related deaths were recorded in 2020 than in the previous year.

This increase in 2020 CVD deaths topped the previous high recorded in 2003.

Cardiovascular disease includes coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and hypertension/high blood pressure.

"While the total number of CVD-related deaths increased from 2019 to 2020, what may be even more telling is that our age-adjusted mortality rate increased for the first time in many years and by a fairly substantial 4.6%," said the volunteer chair of the Statistical Update writing group Connie W. Tsao, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and attending staff cardiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, in a press release on January 25, 2023.

The most significant increases in the overall number of CVD-related deaths were seen among Asian, Black, and Hispanic people, populations most impacted in the early days of the pandemic, and brought to focus increasing structural and societal disparities.

The AHA's volunteer president, Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, added, "COVID-19 has direct and indirect impacts on cardiovascular health. As we learned, the virus is associated with new clotting and inflammation."

"We also know that many people with new or existing heart disease and stroke symptoms were reluctant to seek medical care, particularly in the early days of the pandemic. This resulted in people presenting with more advanced stages of cardiovascular conditions and needing more acute or urgent treatment for what may have been manageable chronic conditions."

"And, sadly, appears to have cost many their lives."

"People from communities of color were among those more highly impacted, especially early on, often due to a disproportionate burden of cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension and obesity."

Known generally as 'heart disease,' coronary heart disease remains the #1 cause of death in the U.S. And COVID-19 appeared in the list of leading causes of death for the first time in 2020, the most recent year for which final statistics are available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Globally, cardiovascular disease remains the #1 killer globally, taking the lives of more than 19 million people worldwide each year, including people of all ages, genders, and nationalities.

The unedited announcement is posted at this AHA link.