Why cardiovascular deaths had an alarming post-COVID spike

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CDC and Northwestern University report alarming surge in cardiovascular deaths amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

NEW YORK, Jan 25: A disconcerting surge in cardiovascular-related deaths has been documented, marking a reversal of a decade-long decreasing trend, according to a joint report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Northwestern University.

Rebecca C. Woodruff of the CDC expressed concern, stating, “We were concerned about the emerging evidence that chronic disease outcomes worsened during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was unfortunately the case with heart disease and stroke, which had been improving before the pandemic.”

The research reveals that cardiovascular deaths between 2020 and 2022 exceeded trend expectations by 228,000 across all demographics. This two-year period witnessed a significant 9.3% increase, sharply contrasting the 8.9% decline observed from 2010 to 2019.

Woodruff attributes the setback to the extensive impacts of COVID-19, noting its role as a disruptor in healthcare access, causing delays in addressing chronic or acute heart issues. The pandemic also posed challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, affecting factors such as diet, sleep, physical activity, blood pressure, and blood sugar management.

Additionally, emerging evidence indicates a potential link between contracting COVID-19 and an increased risk of developing heart disease, intensifying concerns among healthcare professionals.

Woodruff emphasizes the importance of research to comprehend the drivers behind the spike in cardiovascular mortality rates, aiming to guide clinical and public health strategies for the prevention, detection, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

“Reprioritizing prevention and management of CVD is an essential first step,” Woodruff concluded, highlighting the urgency of prioritizing cardiovascular health in public health initiatives and clinical practices.

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