ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped the Heart Hospital of New Mexico from doing business as usual. However, they say it has, in part, stopped people from taking care of their hearts.
“We’ve been able to keep business pretty much as normal and take care of people the way we did before the pandemic,” said Dr. Sean Mazer with the Heart Hospital of New Mexico at Lovelace Medical Center. “We’ve seen people delay care beyond what is normal and that’s really caused some terrible emergencies for families.”
Dr. Mazer says that’s because people are afraid of going to the doctor’s office. With added financial, emotional and physical stress, hearts are working overtime and doctors say it’s more important now than ever to get help.
“If you’re having shortness of breath with exertion or if you’re having new chest symptoms or symptoms that go into your neck or arm,” said Mazer. “Those are symptoms that we’re really concerned about.”
Researchers say people are more likely to die from a heart attack during the COVID-19 pandemic because many aren’t going to the hospital after experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or other cardiovascular problem. Those symptoms can range from having trouble breathing and heart palpitations to irregular heart rhythms, chest pain and more.
“We’ve seen people who have delayed care because they’re frightened of going to the doctor’s office, that’s resulted in terrible outcomes for those patients,” said Mazer. “It’s really important if you have a heart condition to pay attention to new symptoms.”
Mazer says while he understands people are afraid to catch the coronavirus, going to your doctor is actually one of the safest things you can do during the pandemic. He also suggests going outside and doing heart healthy activities like walking that can keep your stress levels down and protect your heart.