Heart Disease Remains No. 1 Killer, But COVID Will Have Big Impact

woman drinking soda“Unhealthy eating habits, increased consumption of alcohol, lack of physical activity and the mental toll of quarantine isolation and even fear of contracting the virus all can adversely impact a person’s risk for cardiovascular health,” Virani said. “We’ll need to watch and address these trends as the full ramifications will likely be felt for many years to come.”

The report also addressed the impact of pregnancy complications, which can increase heart risk for both mothers and babies.

Complications such as high blood pressure disorders, gestational diabetes, preterm births and low birth weight occur in 10% to 20% of U.S. pregnancies. Heart disease is the nation’s most common cause (26.5%) of maternal death.

“We must address this issue to save the lives of mothers and to improve the health of their children at birth, but also over their lifetime,” Virani said.

“There can be long-term effects on offspring of women who suffer pregnancy-related complications,” he added. “But we can also help impact the health of future generations because as we help women learn to reduce their cardiovascular risk, they’re likely to adopt healthier lifestyles. In turn, they can influence the health behaviors of their families.”

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to a healthy heart