'Check your heart, be COVID smart'Sunday, September 26, 2021
SEPTEMBER 29 is recognised globally as World Heart Day and this year The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) will be leading the charge locally with a public education campaign, under the theme 'Use heart to Connect'.
The theme, coined by the World Heart Federation, is a call to action for persons, while social distancing, to employ the use of the digital platforms to stay connected to their friends and loved ones living with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), who statistically, present a higher probability of adverse outcomes if infected with COVID-19.
The pandemic has also highlighted the urgent need to find innovative ways to connect people to heart health, particularly in lower resource areas and communities.
As a result HFJ has partnered with community health centres across the island to provide heart-screening services through its islandwide mobile screening programme, in an effort to increase access in these areas.
With the current uptick in COVID-19 cases, the HFJ stressed the need for persons of all ages to get their hearts checked and become more aware of their heart health. This will be fuelled through the 'Check your Heart, Be COVID Smart' and the 'Know Your Numbers' campaigns.
“Everyone, but especially those over the age of 50 years who are living with hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or those with a family history of these conditions, should invest in regular screenings,” said Deborah Chen, executive director at the Heart Foundation of Jamaica.
“The recommendation is for a comprehensive assessment of risk for heart disease, an ECG, blood pressure check, cholesterol check, blood sugar check, and BMI assessment to determine weight status,” she added.
Individuals can access an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, holter monitor, blood pressure tests, total cholesterol, haemoglobin and HBA1C tests, a nutritionist and cardiac consultations at the HFJ.
Cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one cause for mortality in Jamaica, accounting for some 30 per cent of annual deaths. The Ministry of Health and Wellness also reports that 51 per cent of COVID-19 casualties had pre-existing cardiovascular disease. In addition to that, studies have also indicated that COVID-19 can have direct, post-infection effects on the heart, and may result in myocardial injury and other heart-related damages.