Heart Disease vs COVID-19: The Truth in Numbers 

Heart Disease vs COVID-19: The Truth in Numbers 

Heart disease remains the number one killer in the US, with cancer and COVID-19 coming in behind it.

It is true that while the pandemic has now killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, heart disease still ranks as a bigger killer in the country. Pointing this out is not meant in any way to diminish the lives that have been lost to the coronavirus. Anyone who has suffered losing a loved one knows the pain and sudden effect COVID-19 can have on families and entire communities. What is going on right now in the US and across the world is truly devastating for many. COVID-19 is causing huge amounts of damage. At the time of this writing, just over 200,000 people have now died on American soil from the virus.  

In truth, however, each year almost 650, 000 people die in the US from heart disease. If we all stood up and made life changes to alter these statistics, as we are trying to do in the face of the novel coronavirus, we could see a drastic difference. 

Heart disease is caused by many factors. Some people develop it because they have a genetic disposition to do so. The disease runs in their family. For others, smoking is a cause, as is growing older, going through chemotherapy, and eating fatty foods. Suffering from uncontrolled high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as having diabetes, obesity, and a lot of unrelenting stress can also cause the disease to take hold. Finally, poor hygiene can cause heart disease in some cases, as you can develop it from coming in contact with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause an infection in your heart. 

Related: Can We Keep COVID-19 Out of Our Water?

Clearly, we can do better. And if we did, it is very likely that deaths from COVID-19 would decrease along with deaths from heart disease. Statistics show that people who live with a heart condition or who have vascular disease have a higher risk of developing complications from the novel coronavirus. 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends that people with heart disease take extra precautions to avoid coming in contact with COVID-19. Make a list of people who could help you do this. This might include healthcare providers, friends, family, and other caregivers around you. Take all your prescribed medications on time. Have a family member or contact help you refill your prescriptions so you can avoid traveling to the drug store. It is also wise to Stock up on heart-healthy food, and to continue getting enough exercise. 

So, why do we get so worked up about COVID-19 but we disregard heart disease, the country’s number one killer? The media babbling about the coronavirus all the time makes a big difference. But it is likely also the “surprise” factor. Heart disease doesn’t happen overnight. But the coronavirus can. And it can become serious fast. We now know that people with underlying health conditions like heart disease are likely to face a much worse case of the virus. But we have all also seen cases of seemingly healthy, young people die in its hands. 

We need level heads to be our best selves and get through this. We can all do this by making wise choices with regards to our health. 

photo credits: Crevis/Shutterstock.com

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