A recent survey suggests that American hearts haven’t held up well during the pandemic.
The online survey, conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, found that four in 10 Americans say they have had at least one heart-related issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, one in four respondents who have tested positive say that COVID has affected their health.
The top problems reported were:
- Shortness of breath (18 percent)
- Dizziness (15 percent)
- Higher blood pressure (15 percent)
- Chest pain (13 percent)
Other notable findings from the survey were that:
- Seventy-seven percent said they sometimes or often sit through the entire day. This suggests that people are plastered to their chairs, and walking is trending downwards. Walking, and any activity, can reduce the risk of heart issues.
- Roughly 33 percent were unaware that stress, high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking/vaping could contribute to heart disease.
- Only 22 percent were aware the Mediterranean diet is healthy
- Fifty-one percent said they do not follow a regular diet.
- Four in 10 respondents who had lost a family member to heart disease before age 60 have never been screened for the condition that caused their death.
- One-third suggest that there is nothing they can do to reduce the risk because they have a family history of heart disease.
Those numbers are striking. Activity, diet, and weight loss can help reduce the risk for a heart attack or heart disease, even with a family history.
Screening and lifestyle interventions can help keep your heart healthy. Being conscious of getting some exercise every day, splitting up blocks of sitting with movement, and doing your best to eat whole plant-based foods can significantly improve heart health.
The pandemic has certainly slowed life down and made it harder to stay active and enthusiastic about health. But don’t let it shut you down completely.