Care for heart diseases complicated by COVID-19, says World Heart Federation
The World Heart Federation (WHF) has warned that COVID-19 is creating a perfect storm for heart health.
This is coming as the world marks the 2020 World Heart Day on Tuesday, September 29.
It noted in a statement that three main factors are contributing to this, and first is that people with COVID-19 and heart disease are among those with the highest risk of death and severe complications. Second, the heart might be adversely affected by the virus even in people without pre-existing conditions. Finally, fear of the virus has led to a sharp decline in hospital visits by heart patients for routine and emergency care.
“In these trying times, it is paramount that we pay special attention to those who are at greater risk of complications from COVID-19 and better understand how the virus is affecting the hearts of otherwise healthy people,” said Karen Sliwa, WHF president.
“COVID-19 has created a perfect storm, in which those people with CVD fare poorly, and those at risk don’t seek the treatment that they need to keep their hearts healthy. The heart and the entire vascular system are in danger and we need to act now. Today we have a unique opportunity to unite, to mobilise our skills and to use our heart to act,” Sliwa said.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) has many causes: from smoking to diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and air pollution. To combat these, WHF says it is calling not only for individual behaviour change but for a societal one.
With equity at the centre of WHF’s work, it is vital to make access to healthcare, healthy foods and a healthy way of life accessible and affordable to all people. Regulating unhealthy products, while creating healthy environments are examples of such solutions for governments and communities. Given the current situation, WHF is also calling for recognition and urgent protection of frontline healthcare providers.
The organization, which says its purpose is to unite the global health community to beat cardiovascular disease (CVD), which kills 17.9 million people every year, has launched a global study on cardiovascular disease and COVID-19 to better understand outcomes and risk factors in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.