Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Folasade Alli, says improving cardiovascular health should now be seen as a fundamental component of reducing COVID-19 mortality, noting that many COVID-19 patients are being lost to cardiovascular complications.
Dr. Alli also stated that cardiovascular patients need to be more proactive in managing their health to prevent getting infected with COVID-19, adding that they should also commence treatment early if they contract the viral infection.
According to the World Health Organisation, studies conducted since the outbreak of the pandemic has shown that people with cardiovascular conditions and other non-communicable diseases are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill or die from COVID-19.
The WHO also disclosed that a recent rapid assessment survey it conducted also indicated that the viral pandemic has severely disrupted cardiovascular emergency care and health services for other NCDs.
Speaking on a live TV interview on Tuesday, Dr. Alli said all stakeholders in healthcare delivery should now be paying more attention to cardiovascular health issues as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is now important to discuss cardiovascular issues with the coronavirus pandemic. This is because a majority of the patients who died during this pandemic have been coming down with cardiovascular arrests.
“We’ve seen that it was cardiac arrest that terminated most of the COVID-19 patients. So, it is now very crucial for us to discuss this condition,” she said.
The consultant cardiologist advised people living with heart conditions to begin to take the prevention of COVID-19 seriously, noting that studies have shown that they are more prone to complications if infected.
“Any person already living with a cardiovascular condition at this time needs to take preventive COVID-19 seriously. They must be proactive in preventing getting infected.
“They must also ensure that their cardiovascular condition is under control. If you are hypertensive, it is necessary to ensure that your blood pressure is under control.
“This also goes for those with other lifestyle diseases like diabetes. They must watch their blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They must eat healthy foods.
“All these measures are very crucial at this time because when the risk factors for cardiovascular complications are kept at bay, the body will be able to fight back when the COVID-19 infection comes,” she said.
Alli also reiterated the importance of prompt treatment of cardiovascular issues at this period, warning that patients who fail to act quickly when they have symptoms of cardiovascular issues are taking a big risk with their health.
“If you have any symptoms of cardiovascular condition, even after you have been treated and cured of COVID-19, you should act promptly on it by going to your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
“We have had cases of people who are afraid of going to hospitals to see doctors because they don’t want to catch COVID-19. Sometimes, their condition gets worse before they present for treatment at the hospital.
“That’s why I have been urging patients not to wait till the condition gets worse because early treatment is very crucial. You don’t have to be afraid of seeing your doctor; just take the necessary precautions,” she said.
Alli, however, stated that a lot is yet to be known about the long-term effect of COVID-19 on many health conditions, noting that studies are ongoing to find out many things about the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is a new disease to us all. It is an evolving condition globally.
“Researches are going on to know the long-term effect of COVID-19 infection on cardiovascular health and other conditions,” she said.
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