The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) is imploring persons, especially those with heart diseases, not to stay away from regular appointments with their doctors, as a result of ‘sheltering in place’ from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, on January 20, Chairman and Consultant Cardiologist at the HFJ, Dr. Andrene Chung, explained that this can impact them negatively or affect heart disease patients who contract COVID-19.
“As people shelter, many patients stay away from their regular appointments, they don’t follow up, they don’t take their medications and they don’t exercise, because normal life has been thrown out of sync,” she said.
Dr. Chung also pointed out that there has been an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with COVID-19 infection, who don’t have heart disease.
“There are cardiac complications, which develop as a result of COVID-19,” she said.
Meanwhile, HFJ Executive Director, Deborah Chen, emphasised that it is imperative to keep doctors’ appointments and pointed out that at the HFJ, steps have been taken to ensure that clients are safe when they enter the premises.
“We’re aware at the Heart Foundation that people are sometimes nervous to come out, whether to the Heart Foundation or to their doctor’s office. I can assure you that at the Heart Foundation, we are observing all the protocols and every measure is taken to minimise the risk as much as possible,” she said.
“Please do not stay home when you should be having your regular checks to monitor your condition and maybe even to change your medications. If you look after your general health, and unfortunately contract COVID-19, hopefully the outcome will be less bad for your health, and you might be able to just have the usual two weeks isolation and be back to normal,” the Executive Director added.
According to Mrs. Chen, what the Foundation is trying to do, is to prevent premature death and disability.
The Executive Director said persons should not be tempted to say that they will pass away one day, so it does not really matter what the cause is.
“We’re trying to give you a healthy life until that time comes,” she noted.
Mrs. Chen informed that many persons who are facing imminent death from an untreated or uncontrolled heart condition, generally regret not acting sooner and indicate that had they known, they would have taken their medicine, watched their diet and exercised.
She said that the most important things for persons to know are, “screen, hear what our health professionals have to say, and adhere to it, and remember that if we don’t find time for health, we sure will find time for sickness.”