ST. LOUIS – Dr. Elie Azrak, a cardiologist with SSM Health DePaul Hospital, warns that heart-healthy people and those with heart disease need to be cautious during the pandemic. It is well-known that individuals with heart disease are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and must be extraordinarily aware of contracting the infection.
The steps for those with heart disease have been promoted and continue to mean social distancing, washing hands, wearing a mask, and staying isolated as much as possible. But for those in the heart-healthy category, the risk is that during this quarantine, our diets tend to relax. What cardiologists warn is that when we neglect to maintain a healthy weight, or we add extra pounds, our risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes goes up exponentially.
For those with high blood pressure, you should continue to take your medicine and focus on your weight management.
Know your risk for heart disease – take the quiz here.
Dr. Azrak reminds us that good health habits are even more important now than ever. He suggests:
- Safely stay active
- Eat a health diet
- Avoid stress eating and drinking
- Practice stress management
- Get enough sleep
If you need help with weight management, SSM Health Weight Management Services can help. Dr. Azrak says we endure stress at all times, but the pandemic has elevated our stress levels and being aware that our minds are feeling anxious does make a difference in our diet choices, and our heart health outcomes. If you can be aware of the ways to protect your heart, you can remain healthy for a long time to come.
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The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on KPLR 11 at 7pm and FOX 2 News at 9pm.