There has been an alarming amount of cardiovascular-related deaths — reversing a 10-year downward trend — in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Northwestern University.
“We were concerned about the emerging evidence that chronic disease outcomes worsened during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rebecca C. Woodruff of the CDC said.
“This was unfortunately the case with heart disease and stroke, which had been improving before the pandemic.”
Researchers observed that the span of cardiovascular (CVD) deaths between 2020 and 2022 had increased trend expectations by 228,000 across all demographics.
That two-year period saw a 9.3% increase, a stark contrast from the 8.9% decline from 2010 to 2019.
Woodruff and her organization blamed “the magnitude of the setbacks” brought on by COVID as the culprit.
Woodruff said that COVID-19 also acted as a disruptor of healthcare access for many, which delayed addressing chronic or acute heart issues.
COVID-19 also made it more challenging for many to eat and sleep well, be active and manage health facets like blood pressure and blood sugar.
And worst of all, new evidence is pointing to a connection between contracting COVID-19 and developing an increased risk for heart disease, according to the CDC.
“Research to understand the drivers of these increases in CVD mortality rates can help guide clinical and public health approaches to prevent, detect, and treat CVD,” added Woodruff.
“Reprioritizing prevention and management of CVD is an essential first step.”