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Pandemic likely set heart disease progress back 5-10 years

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Thursday, November 3, 2022 - 4:48pm
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2022 - 12:27pm
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The coronavirus pandemic disrupted personal, professional and social life in ways that still reverberate.

It also set back health progress in the U.S., including reversing a feat the CDC once called “one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the last century.”

Prior to the pandemic, heart disease deaths had been declining for decades; from 2010 to 2019 alone, they dropped almost 10%.

The pandemic changed that, as suggested by a 2020 spike of more than 4% reported in preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022 in Chicago this weekend.

The uptick affected adults of every age, sex, race and ethnicity group and represented 5 years of lost progress – 10 years among young adults and Black adults.

Experts suspect preventative care deferrals delayed key diagnoses at a time that also saw more smoking and drinking combined with less exercise.

Moreover, mounting evidence suggests people who have been infected with COVID-19 might face higher risk of new or worsening cardiovascular disease.

In a press release about the research, AHA President Dr. Michelle Albert called for people who deferred care to seek out a health care professional and for health care professionals to reach out to those patients who have “dropped off their radar.”

Coronavirus Science Health + Medicine