Here is a personal story: In November, 2021, I was working out in an elliptical machine at a hotel we were staying at and I felt something I never experienced before: Chest pressure and shortness of breath. We packed up, went home and I immediately saw a cardiologist for a nuclear stress test. With no surprise, this was abnormal and I was brought immediately to the catheterization lab where I was found to have a 99% blockage of the4 left anterior descending coronary artery (otherwise known as “The Widowmaker”). Angioplasty was performed successfully. Prior to this, I had no history of heart disease and no “risk factor” other than family history. I did have Covid infection twice before the heart issue.
In that year, 2021, over 900,000 Americans died from cardiovascular related disease and this number was a significant jump from previous years. Subsequent studies have shown that having Covid infection significantly increases the risk of developing various forms of heart disease including inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) as well as heart attacks and strokes.
Why does having Covid infection increase the risk of heart disease? Researchers have demonstrated that the virus actually invades heart tissue as well as protective cells called “macrophages”. By increasing levels of inflammation and inhibiting the body’s natural heart defenses, the Covid virus is causally related to the heightened levels of heart disease we have seen over the past several years. I have no doubt that on the personal side, Covid impacted my own heart health.
The point: We all should have an increased awareness of our own heart status and if you have NOT gone in for a checkup, EKG, exercise stress test, Echocardiogram or any other tests that may be warranted to check your heart status, NOW is the time to take action. It is scary to see after years of decreasing frequency, a higher rate now of people with heart disease.
And to end this entry, how could I not post a song by the group “Heart”? Enjoy!