Shomporko Desk:-TORONTO – Heart researchers say there’s an astonishing explanation Canada has seen higher COVID-19 deaths than many countries with fewer health-care resources – more Canadians live longer with the continual disease, putting them at greater threat of demise from COVID-19.
Research led by Heart & Stroke additionally found the pandemic has likely deferred a large number of cardiovascular procedures.
Lead author Cindy Yip said the findings underscore the staggering results of helpless heart wellbeing, regardless of whether excellent medical care and technology is available.
“Quality of care is good to have, but it’s not enough,” said Yip, principal investigator and director of data knowledge management at Heart & Stroke, formerly known as the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
She said Canadians are somewhat vulnerable to pandemics such as COVID-19 because so many have survived other health crises.
The study notes 11.7 per cent of Canadians suffer from cardiovascular disease, including strokes. That puts us in the top third among 63 countries studied — worse than the 11.6 per cent found in the United States, 10 per cent in Russia, 7.6 per cent in South Korea, 4.3 per cent in India and 3.8 per cent in Pakistan.
When it came to reported death rates from COVID-19, Canada ranked higher than all but 14 of the 65 countries studied (two additional countries had sufficient data). That included places with poorer health-care resources such as Russia, India, Pakistan, and China.
The study looked at COVID-19 cases reported between Jan. 21 and April 30, when Canada listed 54,457 confirmed cases and a case fatality rate of 6.1 per cent.
Lower foreign death rates included 1 per cent in Russia, 5.5 per cent in China and 3.3 per cent in India.
For every 1 per cent increase in the number of people with heart problems, the COVID-19 death rate was 19 per cent higher.
Age was also a factor.
For every 1 per cent increase in the number of people aged 65 years and older, the COVID-19 death rate was 9 per cent higher. Nearly 9 per cent of the Canadian population is 65 or older.
The study also tried to number the heart-related medical procedures that have been postponed by the pandemic, but Yip said data here is limited, forcing researchers to extrapolate.
The report estimates that province-wide, 1,252 procedures are being postponed each month by COVID-19 precautions.
Yip said the study lends increased force to public health directives to socially distance and wash hands often.
But she said it also underscores the need for heart-healthy habits — regular exercise, healthy eating and no smoking or vaping.
“Take care of your heart and brain health because if you don’t have good heart and brain health, if you get COVID-19 your outcome is not good.”
Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
News source: THE CANADIAN PRESS