Virus may be ‘impacting heart’

The COVID-19 pandemic could be having a serious impact on cardiovascular health in Barbados, says medical director of the Cardiac Disease Prevention and Rehabilitation Programme of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados Inc., Dr Dawn Scantlebury.

On Saturday, following a church service at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Jemmotts Lane, St Michael, to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the organisation, she said cardiovascular disease was the No. 1 cause of death and the pandemic could be exacerbating the problem.

“When I talk about cardiovascular diseases I am talking about heart disease, heart attacks, heart failure and stroke. Those are the things that are killing Barbadians and they are not decreasing. COVID-19 has not taken over by any means; COVID-19 has actually increased it,” said Scantlebury, who is an interventional cardiologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“Over the years with COVID-19, at least I as a cardiologist found that my patients stopped exercising. They stayed inside, put on weight and as soon as they came back out, I started seeing an uptick in heart disease and so on. And even during the peaks of the pandemic people were so fearful of coming to the doctor, they stayed at home and their diabetes and hypertension got worse. (SB)

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