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Forty-one percent of Americans have experienced heart problems since the start of the pandemic, partly due to the effects of COVID-19, but also as a result of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, according to a study by the Cleveland Clinic.
According to the paper, prepared in celebration of Heart Health Month in the United States, 77% of respondents admitted that they are now more likely than before the pandemic to be sitting during the day.
In addition, 22% admitted that due to increased responsibilities at home they have less time to exercise regularly.
This trend toward sedentary lifestyles was also seen among Mexican adults, who were also surveyed.
Before the pandemic, 83% of Mexicans walked daily, while now only 74% do so.
Likewise, before March 2020, 72% of Mexicans often or sometimes exercised and, two years later, the figure has dropped to 60%, according to data from the Cleveland Clinic.
Of the heart problems recognized during the pandemic, 27% of the cases were due to the effects of COVID-19, according to the study.
In this context, the director of the heart and vascular center of the Cleveland Clinic in Weston (Florida), Jose Navia, explained to the EFE agency that the first strains of COVID-19 created many thromboses, although these cases are not occurring so much now, nor are myocarditis.
The expert considered, however, that patients who have had COVID-19 should have an echocardiogram to rule out heart problems.
Navia also pointed out that in the first year of the pandemic many people with heart problems did not go to the doctor for fear of catching COVID-19 and that this worsened their cases.
One of the heart diseases that he said can be prevented if diagnosed in time is endocarditis, the infection of the internal tissues of the heart, which can be treated and cured with antibiotics without the need for surgery.
“Most native endocarditis (infection in the valve) that are taken in time are treated with antibiotics and most patients recover. There is a percentage in which the aggressiveness of the germ is so great that it destroys or ruptures the valve and cannot be repaired with antibiotics and surgical treatment is necessary,” said the expert.
Navia emphasized that endocarditis is a serious problem and that it is common to confuse its first symptoms with the flu, since the first manifestations of this disease are fever, profuse sweating in the evening, muscle pains, lack of appetite and fatigue.
Once the symptoms have been detected, blood cultures should be taken and an echocardiogram performed, which by means of ultrasound allows a dynamic view of the heart, the physician explained.
The people most prone to endocarditis are those who have a cardiac history, such as surgeries or a congenital disease, but there are also risk factors in people who inject drugs intravenously or those who suffer from renal insufficiencies or undergo dialysis.