Although the direct toll of COVID-19 has been devastating, many doctors are also concerned about the indirect toll of the pandemic on patients living with other medical conditions, such as heart disease.
Managing chronic conditions, such as heart disease, during a pandemic is a ferocious challenge. This was clearly evident, across the country, as COVID-19 cases rose fewer people were seeking medical care and those with heart disease were either not prioritizing their care or not being diagnosed at all. It’s heartbreaking thinking how these people could have been helped if their symptoms had been caught earlier.
Data from the Centers of Disease Control reveals that deaths from heart disease dramatically increased after the onset of the pandemic in 2020; increasing almost 5%, the largest jump in almost a decade. But, if the glaring disparities between “what we die from, what we Google and what we read in the news” is any indication, not taking heart disease seriously is deeply entrenched in our country.
In fact, a recent analysis, comparing media coverage with disease incidence, suggests heart disease is largely underrepresented in the sphere of public attention, while the number of deaths from heart disease is exponentially higher. Chronic, non-contagious diseases present an enormous public health and financial priority, with greater emphasis placed upon earlier symptom identification and, ultimately, disease prevention.