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Getting your heart health back on track: What you need to know

Do you know your blood pressure? Are your physical abilities getting worse?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on heart health in so many different ways.

Half of Americans admit they have put off recommended screenings and check-ups because they worry about being exposed to the coronavirus. Early warnings and red flags are being missed, leaving many in danger of a cardiac event

“The number one killer of both men and women is still heart disease,” said Dr. Joan S. Crawford, a cardiologist in St. Clair Shores.

Know your numbers

That killer is gaining an advantage as people delay care. To get back on track, Dr. Crawford said it is important to know your numbers.

“You want to know your blood pressure. You want to know your weight. You want to know your cholesterol. High blood pressure alone is a silent killer,” she said.

If yours is high, don’t ignore it.

“If it’s not 130 over 80 or better, you should be seen. A lot of people go into heart failure or get thick heart muscles, or end up on kidney dialysis way earlier in life just because of uncontrolled high blood pressure. And that is something you can buy a kit for and check yourself at home,” said Dr. Crawford.

Can you physically do what you could last year?

Self-check by asking yourself basic questions.

Can you walk a mile? When was the last time you walked a mile? If you can’t walk a mile, how far can you walk? You’re kind of trying to keep an eye, when you age, can you within reason do pretty much this year what you could do last year? If you cannot, think why. Because my legs are tired? My chest hurts. I am short of breath. You know, so many people says it’s because ‘I am getting older.’ I hear people 46 say, ‘I am getting older.’ Yeah, I don’t think so,” said Crawford.

Even if you are older, the reduced ability to do things you used to do is often a red flag.

Call your doctor and get checked out.

Take your medications

Finally, make sure you are taking all of your medications as directed. One in three heart patients admit they haven’t been during the past year.

Dr. Crawford added another piece of advice I whole-heartedly agree with: Don’t be afraid to go to the ER if you really don’t feel well.

We are taking precautions to protect patients from the coronavirus.

Deciding to stay home if you are experiencing symptoms could be a deadly decision. Heart attacks are not taking the year off.



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