A Cleveland Clinic survey found 41% of Americans have experienced at least one heart-related issue since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, with top issues including shortness of breath (18%), dizziness (15%), increased blood pressure (15%) and chest pain (13%). In addition, about one in four Americans (27%) who have tested positive for COVID-19 report that their diagnosis has impacted their heart health, reported in their release.
As the world nears the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, Americans are facing consequences to their health habits that may have a negative effect on their heart health. According to the survey, sitting throughout the day is on the rise (+5 points in percentage of Americans who say they often do this) while walking throughout the day has declined (-4 points in percentage of Americans who say they often do this). Americans now say that they often or sometimes sit throughout the day (77%).
The survey also found that few Americans (22%) know that the Mediterranean diet is heart healthy, and about half of Americans (51%) do not currently follow a specific diet plan.
“COVID fatigue is a very real thing – and for this year’s survey we wanted to see what kind of effect the ongoing pandemic is having on Americans’ heart health and in particular their healthy habits,” said Samir Kapadia, M.D., chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. “We know 90% of heart disease is preventable through a healthier diet, regular exercise, and not smoking, so now is the time to refocus on our heart health.”
When it comes to genetics, 40% of those who have lost a family member to heart disease before the age of 60 have never been screened for the condition they lost a family member to, which jumps to 54% among millennials. Additionally, 34% of Americans feel that if they have a family history of heart disease, there is nothing they can do to limit the risk of developing that heart condition; however, physicians believe that early screening and treatment can save lives.
Finally, about one-third of Americans don’t know that the following factors can increase your risk of developing heart disease:
- Stress (33%)
- High Blood pressure (35%)
- Obesity (39%)
- Smoking/vaping (41%)
A positive survey result was that many Americans (77%) are familiar with their family history of heart disease and roughly two-thirds (65%) say they have had their blood pressure checked within the last six months.
The survey was conducted as part of Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute’s “Love your Heart” consumer education campaign in celebration of American Heart Month.