Right now, the coronavirus is the #1 health concern in the land, but keeping your heart healthy should also remain paramount: Heart disease remains the #1 cause of death in America, according to the CDC, with 655,381 dying from it yearly. And since COVID-19 can cause heart problems, it makes sense to make sure your ticker is ticking properly. “Even if we feel healthy now, the point of this is to avoid a heart attack in the next 10 to 20 years,” says cardiologist Tarak Rambhatla, MD, about the importance of yearly physicals to suss out potential issues. “If we have underlying cardiac risk factors that we don’t realize, those can progress to real disease in 10-15 years,” he says. “If you at least know those numbers, it will give you a good framework for identifying risk factors [for heart attacks and disease].
Flu? And heart health? What’s the connection? This: Adults over 65 are more likely to experience fatal flu complications, including heart attacks. That’s why cardiologists like Allen J. Taylor, MD, Chair of Cardiology at the MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute, get flu shots every year. “Many individuals are unaware that their risk of a heart attack increases by up to 10 times in the days and weeks after an acute flu infection,” he says. A flu shot can also ensure you don’t get the flu on top of coronavirus, a potentially deadly double-threat.