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The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), through its 2019 Economic and Social Survey, states that non-communicable diseases (which includes heart disease), remains the leading cause of death in the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that “cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year”.

Heart Disease, officially known as Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), refers to the group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. These disorders include hypertension, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), heart failure and congenital heart disease, among others.

To raise awareness of CVD and reduce its prevalence, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) recognises February as Heart Month annually.  The theme for this year is ‘COVID and Heart Disease’. This theme was chosen to educate the public on the effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the heart.

Types of Complications

Medical experts say that the coronavirus can cause heart problems for both persons living with a heart disease, as well as persons who are not. These issues may include:

  • Increased pressure on heart muscles and muscle inflammation
  • Disruption of the balance between oxygen supply and demand
  • Increased risk of clotting in the blood vessels which can lead to a heart attack
  • Higher likelihood of stroke, heart failure and cardiomyopathy, which is a type of damage to the heart muscle

At Risk Groups

Some persons have a higher risk of developing heart complications with COVID-19, including those who:

  • Are age 65 and over
  • Have an established heart disease
  • Have had heart attacks or heart failure
  • Live with hypertension and diabetes
  • Are immunosuppressed (such as cancer patients who are getting chemotherapy)
  • Are obese

Recommendations for Good Heart Health

To all Jamaicans, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica recommends the following to maintain good heart health, as the entity seeks to reduce morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease. :

  • Conduct regular medical screening and take medication properly
  • Be aware of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Be mindful of family medical history
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Control stress levels
  • Seek medical attention if experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, heart racing or sudden loss of consciousness

 

For further information, contact:

Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ)

28 Beechwood Ave, Kingston 5, Kingston, Jamaica

Telephone: 876-926-4378/ 876-929-3195/ 876-926-6492/ 876-619-7007-8

Website: https://www.heartfoundationja.org/

Email: info@heartfoundationja.org

 

Ministry of Health and Wellness

10-16 Grenada Crescent

Kingston 5

Telephone: 876-633-7433/8172

Website: https://www.moh.gov.jm/

Email: pr@moh.gov.jm

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