"COVID-19 Takes a Heavy Toll on Heart Health: Cardiovascular Deaths Reach Record Highs"
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected our respiratory systems, but it has also taken a heavy toll on our heart health.
According to the American Heart Association's 2023 Statistical Update, the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease in the US increased during the first year of the pandemic, from 874,613 in 2019 to 928,741 in 2020.
This represents the largest single-year increase since 2015 and is higher than the previous record of 910,000 in 2003.
The biggest 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.
This highlights the increasing structural and societal disparities that exist within our country."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 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.
This trend is not only disheartening but also not surprising, as the American Heart Association had predicted this trend. COVID-19 has both direct and indirect impacts on cardiovascular health.
The virus can directly damage the heart and blood vessels, and it can also indirectly impact heart health by causing stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as interrupting access to routine medical care.
The Association leaders suggest that the pandemic's effects on death rates may be noticed for several years and that lessons learned offer major opportunities to address structural and societal issues that drive health disparities.
It's important that we continue to raise awareness about the impact of COVID-19 on heart health and work towards addressing the underlying issues that contribute to these disparities.
In conclusion, COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on heart health, and we must continue to work towards reducing cardiovascular deaths and addressing the underlying issues that contribute to these disparities. It's time for us to take action and make heart health a priority.