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Has Covid pandemic contributed to rise in heart disease in India?

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New Delhi, Sep 20, 2021- The lockdown-induced sedentary lifestyle, and delay in preventive health check-ups have all contributed to a rise in the cases related to cardiac complications, say doctors.

The pandemic-induced lockdowns lead to a change in sleeping and eating patterns leading to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, all with direct link to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) — the number one killer globally.

Further, the pandemic also made people more hesitant to visit doctors for health check-ups. The fear of catching the virus kept various people away from regular check-ups and as a reason patients who were already suffering from heart-related problems are now visiting the doctors with increased complications, say doctors.

“The expected increase in the number of patients with heart-related complications is getting evident day by day, as the number of consultations for post Covid cardiac complications like myocarditis are gradually increasing,” said Dr Mukesh Goel, Senior Consultant Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle characterised by chest pain, abnormal heartbeat, and shortness of breath.

A Covid infection adds to the troubles. People in their post-Covid recovery are facing such complications due to the inflammation and damage caused by the virus in the body, and such damage becomes easier if any part of the body is slightly unhealthy.

“There has been an increase in a number of cases after this pandemic, the reason being there are various heart disorders like palpitation increase in the number of Type 2 heart attacks (caused by severely restricted blood flow), postural hypotension that is low blood pressure, and excessive fatigue. Covid viral infection is responsible for this problem,” Dr Ajay Kaul, Chairman Cardiac Sciences Fortis Hospital Noida, told IANS.

“Most of these patients have completely recovered from Covid and are now experiencing either palpitation or excessive tiredness. So we could say that when Covid infection was at the peak, we used to get 10-15 patients as they were at the recovery stage but now we see 2-3 patients daily coming due to this problem to our OPD,” he added.

Heart health, if ignored, can cause various serious complications, as CVDs account for the largest mortality rate globally.

“Hence, preventive health check-ups are indeed necessary. People are advised to not miss their pre-scheduled visit to the doctors and take timely preventive health measures, to catch any approaching severe health ailment in time,” Goel said.

The doctors also advised to follow a healthy lifestyle — a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and regular physical exercise. (Agency)

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