Heart disease on the rise due to COVID-19

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An image of the heart. Image courtesy Getty images.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the world according to the World Health Organization. With COVID-19 likely to influence cardiovascular health and mortality rates for many years, directly and indirectly as a result of increased lifestyle-related risks during and after the pandemic.

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Heart disease refers to conditions that involve the heart, its vessels, muscles, valves, or internal electric pathways responsible for muscular contraction.

According to the American Heart Association report 18.6 million people, globally, died of cardiovascular disease in 2019.This was a 17.1 percent increase over the past decade.

Experts predict the global burden of cardiovascular disease will grow in the next five years due to COVID-19 lockdowns have greatly affected people’s lifestyles.

High blood cholesterol, High blood pressure and Smoking are among the main causes of heart disease.

Other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put one at risk of developing heart failure including: Overweight and obesity, unhealthy diet, diabetes and excessive alcohol use

The four types of heart diseases include Coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, heart valve disease and heart failure.

Coronary artery disease is caused by a buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis is also caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits such as lack of exercise, being overweight and poor diet.

Arrhythmia is a condition that occurs when electrical impulses in the heart don’t work properly.

Heart valve disease is a condition in which one or more of the valves in your heart does not work properly. This leads to a disrupted flow of blood through your heart to your body.

Heart failure occurs when your heart cannot pump (systolic) or fill (diastolic) adequately.

The following symptoms may indicate heart failure:

Chest pain, fatigue, edema, dizziness, shortness of breath and Pain or discomfort in the arms, left shoulder, elbows, jaws or back

The risk factor of developing heart disease may include: Age- Common in people over 50 years of age, Gender-Men are more likely to develop heart disease than women, Diet- Poor diet may lead to high cholesterol levels and Alcohol- Increased consumption of alcohol increases your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Heart disease may be diagnosedin various ways: The doctor may take your family history, record the symptoms you have experienced and later do laboratory tests. There are some noninvasive tests that are available to check heart disease such as: Electrocardiogram, Carotid ultrasound,   Chest X-ray, CT scan and Echocardiogram

Heart disease can be prevented by: Stop smoking, having a balanced diet, cut down alcohol consumption, Maintain a healthy weight and exercise.

Heart disease treatment includes lifestyle changes, surgery and medications such as hydralazine, Isosorbide dinitrate and Isorsobide  mononitrate.

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