Spike in flu, COVID-19, and respiratory illnesses can lead to rise in cardiovascular issues: experts

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- With American Heart Month approaching, knowledge on cardiovascular complications is important.

According to experts at Mount Sinai, the recent surge in influenza, COVID-19, and other respiratory viruses can impact cardiovascular health.

The recent surge can trigger cardiovascular complications from fever, dehydration, and increased inflammation, and Mount Sinai doctors are seeing a rise in these cases in all age groups, including patients in their 20s.

Patients with underlying cardiovascular disease and the associated risk factors are at increased risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 700,000 people die of heart disease annually, and 80% of these cases are preventable.

Increased inflammation can cause detrimental issues, triggering heart attacks for those with coronary artery disease, along with exacerbating heart failure symptoms and irregular or rapid heartbeats.

"If you have an underlying heart condition or risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease-don't assume it's not serious or just a viral syndrome, " says Icilma Fergus, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Disparities for the Mount Sinai Health System. "Consider seeing a health care provider right away, and call 911 if the symptoms of chest pain, dizziness or shortness of breath develop."

Some tips to lower the risk of heart disease include knowing your family history, maintain a healthy diet, limit alcohol consumption, quit using tobacco or other inhaled substances, and watch your weight and exercise.

Mount Sinai also advises that appropriate vaccinations be kept up to date to minimize severity of symptoms, and to monitor your blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL (or "good") cholesterol, body mass index, and fasting glucose levels.

Taking notice of chest discomfort, shortness of breath, pain in the arms, back, neck, or jaw, breaking out in a cold sweat, and lightheadedness is crucial for identifying a heart attack or stroke.

More information can be found on the Mount Sinai website.


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