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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– Coliseum Medical Center has seen an increase in patients with worsened heart conditions this year, as a result of delayed care.
Dr. Norman Hetzler, Chief of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, says more people have died this year, because of delayed care.
“They’re not necessarily coming in, there’s evidence of more people dying,” Hetzler said.
Doctors have expressed concern and ask people to take care of their heart.
The CDC reports a 20% decrease in people going to the hospital for heart-related issues.
Dr. Laurence Sperling, Executive Director of the Million Hearts Initiative with the CDC, says adults continue putting off getting medical help at an alarming rate.
“Four out of every 10 adult Americans keep avoiding or delaying care,” Sperling stated. “They delay both urgent care or continued care.”
Dr. Hetzler says a medical emergency should always take priority.
“If you’re having chest pains, you have a greater risk of dying from a heart attack than you would ever have from COVID-19,” Hetzler stated. “Don’t sit at home and wait for the attack, get to a hospital, and take care of it. ”
According to the American Heart Association, over 805,000 people suffer from heart attacks each year. The CDC expects that number to increase by the end of 2020.
The pandemic has created new challenges for getting a proper diet, exercise, and socialization. Sterling says people should focus on their health.
“People should focus on healthy behaviors like regular moderate physical activity, a healthy diet, and focusing on stress and anxiety,” Sterling explained. “Stress can really impact the heart.”
If you experience any sort of cardiac issues, go to a hospital immediately or call 911.
Dr. Hetzler says the signs of a heart attack are chest pains, shortness of breath, fatigue, and burning sensations.