COVID phobia keeps heart patients away from Hospitals
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COVID phobia keeps heart patients away from Hospitals

May 23, 2021

Trend worrying, say Cardiologists; more worrisome is many people are dying due to fear of Coronavirus

Mysore/Mysuru: Fearing Coronavirus spread at Hospitals, regular patients with heart problems or strokes are staying away from visiting Hospitals for their regular check-ups. This is risky, say doctors. Even the data shows that the number of severe heart attacks being treated at Hospitals had dropped by nearly 40 percent, leaving Cardiologists worried.

“The reduction in volume of patients visiting Hospitals is concerning. We have to assume that the disease prevalence for heart attacks has not changed, which brings me back to the initial concern that patients are trying to manage their complaints at home because they are potentially afraid of getting exposed to virus in a Hospital setting,” Dr. C.N. Manjunath, Cardiologist and Director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, Bengaluru, told Star of Mysore. 

“Even if one contracts the COVID disease, many patients die due to fear of the disease. This is called ‘virus fear’ and sadly many casualties here are due to the fear and the resultant heart attacks. From the first wave to the on-going second wave, people dying from COVID-related heart attacks have doubled and this is a matter of concern,” the reputed Cardiologist said. 

COVID is infecting people of all age at a rapid pace. There are many instances of heart attacks in many patients without any pre-existing history of any heart-related ailment. While patients with a history of heart-related illness or those who had stents installed in their hearts or have undergone a bypass surgery are found to be seeking medical help for enhanced symptoms after they contracted Coronavirus disease, what is worrying is that in some cases patients with no pre-existing history of cardiac ailment reportedly got an attack.

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“In most cases, patients complained of chest pain and could be rescued but in some instances, the attacks are so quick and acute that they cannot be revived,” Dr. Manjunath said adding that anxiety plays an important role in patients infected by Coronavirus. 

He said anxiety makes the body’s adrenaline go up, thus spiking the blood pressure and in the process increasing the heart rate, which can be detrimental for a patient infected  with the virus. He suggested the people follow a three-step process to get relief from anxiety. “One, you must exercise to keep your immunity up; two, you must do de-stressing techniques daily no matter whether you are infected or not; and the third is to maintain a healthy nutrition by consuming at least 30-40 grams of protein every day,” he said.

Dr. K.S. Sadananda, Medical Superintendent, Jayadeva Hospital, Mysuru, said that with the number of COVID cases rising, fewer patients are visiting Hospitals for other issues. There has been a 60 to 70 percent decrease and now there is a lockdown too. “There is fear among the public that they might contract COVID if they visit hospitals. But people need to avail required treatment without fear. By not visiting the Hospital, they are worsening their clinical situation,” he added.

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