Professor Ronen Rubinstein, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at Wolfson Hospital, published an article on how the post-corona situation is affecting heart disease statistics in Israel.
A year has passed since the coronavirus epidemic began. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have had the disease, and perhaps a large number have had it without being diagnosed.
Over the past year, more has become known about the course of this dangerous disease and the possible immune reaction, which in some cases causes severe damage to many body systems.
Coronavirus and its effects were originally thought to be especially dangerous for people suffering from heart disease. Subsequent studies at Frankfurt and Ohio universities have demonstrated that the level of latent damage to heart muscle is relatively low and of no clear clinical significance.
This is why physicians around the world recommend for asymptomatic patients and patients with mild symptoms a return to normal physical activity and exercise 7 to 10 days after the end of the disease and without special tests. In Israel, the National Council of Cardiovascular Diseases also recommends this approach. Medical examination and additional tests are necessary only for those who were in moderate to severe condition because of the coronavirus. A three-month rest period is recommended for such people. It appears that most people who have recovered from coronavirus in Israel do not need additional cardiac examinations.
In Israel, there were also fears of a harmful immune reaction after vaccination. The cause was the case of a young man hospitalized shortly after vaccination with an infectious heart condition. Several cases of myositis and pericarditis were also reported in the days following the vaccination. But doctors were convinced that, amid millions of vaccinations in Israel, there were fewer heart infections than usual. The main reason for this is the drastic reduction in the incidence of viral infections – due to wearing masks and keeping a social distance.
Israel has taken a cautious approach and is collecting relevant information, but after such a massive vaccination campaign, the vaccine appears to be safe and the link to possible heart problems has not been proven.
Israel, however, is facing a wave of heart attacks. Coronavirus may be one of the causes of heart attacks – in the acute stage of the disease and in the cure stage – but it is unlikely to play a major role. Factors such as stress and failure to take preventive medicine are much more important. The coronavirus epidemic (and the controversy surrounding this whole set of problems) creates an atmosphere of anxiety and stress (mental, financial, etc.) in society. In many cases, this is accompanied by a rejection of preventive medicine. Indeed, recently we have seen a wave of heart attacks, the nature of which is not entirely clear, but, at the same time, the return of preventive medicine as infection rates fall.
Amid all of this, with a gradual return to normalcy, more than ever should be paid attention to the following things: vaccinations, getting back to physical activity, quitting smoking, managing diabetes, high blood pressure. All of these things will help prevent heart attacks.