Albert Galyavich: '10% of Russians developed heart complications due to Covid-19'

Cardiologists are alarmed by a growth of cardiovascular diseases due to COVID-19

Albert Galyavich, the chief visiting cardiologist of the Volga Region, together with colleagues, told how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the number of complications associated with cardiovascular diseases. The doctors cited disappointing figures of medical statistics and gave several recommendations on how to avoid serious heart and vascular diseases after Covid-19. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Coronavirus has increased the number of patients with heart deseases

Cardiologists are alarmed, COVID-19 has seriously increased the number of patients with cardiovascular diseases. This happens both for direct and indirect reasons, said Albert Galyavich, the chief visiting cardiologist of the Volga Federal District, head of the Department of Cardiology of the Kazan State Medical University, MD:

“First, Covid-19 itself can cause heart complications — not so much, but they are there. If we talk about statistics for Russia, this is about 10% of people. 7,5 million people got infected, plus 700,000 people developed heart complications due to Covid-19. This is a huge burden for healthcare, for the economy, for doctors. Second, risk factors have become more pronounced. First, stress. They say on television and radio, don't go there, put on masks, get vaccinated. This, of course, is a certain stress. There are also factors that affect heart disease — people began to have lower physical activity, especially last year, when it was lockdown. This was deposited in the form of fat. This is hypodynamia, an increase in body weight, it increases blood pressure, cause metabolic disturbance, in particular, cholesterol accumulates. We see that there are more patients with cardiovascular diseases precisely because they have more risk factors. Sedentary lifestyle, obesity, someone's blood pressure began to rise, respectively, morbidity and mortality are increasing.”

All of the above factors have led to an increase in mortality. However, in Tatarstan this indicator is lower than in other regions of the district. Albert Galyavich emphasises that this is the result of competent investments in the healthcare system:

“Until 2019, everything was fine with us, as it turned out. Over the past 10 years, mortality from cardiovascular diseases has been rapidly decreasing. This was especially evident in the Republic of Tatarstan. From 2005, there were huge resource investments, excellent centres were created. Now the mortality rate of the population is increasing, something that we have not had for about 10 years. Since I am in charge of the entire Volga Federal District, the lowest mortality rate out of 14 regions is in the Republic of Tatarstan. This is understandable, they were already low in our country. This is a very favourable moment, but we should stay alert, because it is unknown when Covid-19 will end.”

Men are at risk

As part of Heart Day 2021, it is planned to hold a conference for doctors of various specialties, during which cardiologists will tell what complications from the cardiovascular system patients who have had coronavirus may face. To minimise risks, experts advise citizens to follow simple rules of prevention.

“You need to walk at least 5000 steps every day. Five-six thousand steps a day have a beneficial effect. Good quality sleep, 6-8 hours, at least. But people often watch TV or computer until 1 am, but at 7 am they need to go to work. Sleep disturbance is an increase in blood pressure, carbohydrate and fat metabolic disorders. Good sleep, enough exercise, and a very important point is nutrition. It is necessary to add vegetable food to the diet. Vegetables, fruits, porridges are not instant, but legumes — peas, lentils," Albert Galyavich draws attention.

As for restrictions, especially during the pandemic, sugar consumption should be reduced and alcohol should be completely excluded.

“It is necessary to limit carbonated and sugary drinks. It is necessary to eat less sweets, it does not have a positive effect on the immune system. The best drink for today is boiled water. Alcohol is a decrease in immunity, no matter how much you consume and no matter what drink you consume. No matter what the advocates of alcohol say, alcohol is a suppression of immunity, suppression of the heart," the cardiologist warns.

As for smoking, according to the Doctor of Medical Sciences, it was it that caused the increase in the incidence of COVID-19 among young people:

“The virus affects the walls of blood vessels, endothelium. And smoking just damages the walls of blood vessels. These things also need to be known. Young people began to be hospitalised. They began to find out — firstly, these are mass gatherings, secondly, most of them smoke, and thirdly, alcohol consumption. We need to talk about this, we need to explain it to the population.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have a positive effect on reducing the number of patients with both cardiovascular diseases and coronavirus infection. This was told by Olga Radchenko, Professor of the Department of Hygiene of the Kazan State Medical University, chief visiting specialist for medical prevention. At the same time, she notes that the population of the republic has become irresponsible to their health:

“To date, the Republic of Tatarstan has gone down from 21st place to 31st in terms of commitment to a healthy lifestyle. If we lead a healthy lifestyle, we will spend much less money, effort and money on medical measures. Almost a quarter of the people who took part in the campaign to measure blood pressure, it turned out to be elevated, above 140 over 90.”

Olga Radchenko emphasises that men are at risk. They often ignore pain and poor health, seeking medical help only in the most extreme cases:

“We need to pay attention to the health of men, they are 'bad' patients, they have more risky behaviour, they are more tolerant of pain and do not complain when you need to see a doctor at an early stage and start treatment.

“We also meet the damage of the cardiovascular system in children”

Cardiovascular diseases in the form of complications can also occur in children, although there are significantly fewer such cases than in adults. Associate Professor of the Department of Hospital Pediatrics of the Kazan State Medical University, Candidate of Medical Sciences, pediatric cardiologist Dina Sabirova cites statistics:

“Children get infected with coronavirus less often. To date, according to the Covid-19 hospital, it is about 700 children. We also see the damage of the cardiovascular system in children. This may be myocardial damage, coronary vascular damage, and pericardial damage.

The control of cardiovascular diseases in children in Tatarstan is very strict. According to Dina Sabirova, innovative diagnostic tools help to significantly reduce mortality.

“Since 2018, newborns have been screened for critical conditions by pulse oximetry in our republic. First of all, this is screening for congenital heart defects. Our republic can be proud that we were the first in Russia to start this screening. We have examined more than 100,000 newborns. One hundred and fifty-one children were diagnosed with congenital heart disease, which was not diagnosed antenatally. Out of them, 31 are children with a critical congenital heart defect. Timely detection of heart defects contributed to early transfer to the department of cardiac surgery, early surgical targeted intervention and minimal number of complications. We carry out pulse oximetry screening in the third hour of life. Thus, we identify not only critical congenital heart defects, but also other conditions that the doctor does not visually see.”

A million hypertensive patients

Doctors note that cardiovascular diseases are very common, and they urge to take their prevention as seriously as possible. In Tatarstan alone, according to Albert Galyavich, about a million people suffer from hypertension.

“Number one is high blood pressure, about a third of the population has high blood pressure. Approximately 300,000 people are registered as patients with hypertension in Tatarstan. Previously, we conducted screenings, about a million people in the republic have high blood pressure. Three hundred thousand people suffer from the desease, and 700 thousand people do not know that they do. The second pathology is, of course, angina pectoris. The third group of patients is acute conditions, myocardial infarction, cerebral stroke. Fifteen thousand people with acute chest pain are hospitalised in the Republic of Tatarstan a year. Approximately the same number of patients with cerebral stroke, with cerebral hemorrhage are hospitalised. Imagine, 30 thousand people are acute situations.”

In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, citizens should be even more attentive to their health. In the presence of symptoms such as shortness of breath, weakness, palpitations, headaches after Covid-19, experts advise, without delay, to contact the polyclinic at the place of residence.

Emil Ziyangirov
Sports Tatarstan