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COVID-19 Linked to Increased Risk of Long-Term Heart Disease

COVID-19 has been linked to an increased risk of long-term heart disease and other complications. According to the American Heart Association’s 2023 Statistical Update, the number of CVD deaths in 2020 was the largest single-year increase since 2015, topping the previous high of 910,000 recorded in 2003.[0] This resulted in more people dying from cardiovascular-related causes in 2020 than in any year since 2003.[0]

Experts have long warned that common heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, raise a person’s risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. “COVID-19 infection worsens pre-existing heart conditions, and increases the risk of developing more than 20 heart conditions including heart attack, blood clots, heart failure and stroke,” said Dr. Alisa Albert, chair of the American Heart Association’s writing group.

The report found that Asian, Black and Hispanic people experienced the largest increases in heart disease deaths, echoing disproportionate impacts of the pandemic against minority communities in the country.[1] “People from communities of color were among those more highly impacted, especially early on, often due to a disproportionate burden of cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension and obesity,” said Albert.[2] Moreover, there are economic factors and the enduring effect of institutional racism on various elements such as hindering the capacity to receive quality healthcare.[3]

The age-adjusted mortality rate is a measure that considers the fact that cardiovascular disease deaths will likely increase as the population ages. “So even though our total number of deaths have been slowly increasing over the past decade, we have seen a decline each year in our age-adjusted rates—until 2020,” said Dr. Winston Tsao, lead author of the report. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on people of all ages, especially before vaccines were accessible to reduce the transmission. This is very symbolic of the situation our nation and the world are in.[4]

The authors note that globally, ischemic heart disease and stroke are the top two causes of death linked to cardiovascular disease, with rates rising around the world over the past decade in all but two regions: North America and Europe/Central Asia.[5] In North America, heart disease death rates have been falling from 28.2% of all deaths in 1990 to 18.[5]

0. “AHA Presents Up-To-Date Statistics for Cardiovascular Disease”, 25 Jan. 2023,

1. “Heart-related deaths rose sharply in first year of COVID pandemic, report shows” WTOP, 26 Jan. 2023,

2. “COVID-19 caused CVD deaths in the U.S. to spike, new research confirms” Cardiovascular Business, 25 Jan. 2023,

3. “COVID-19 made heart disease death rates soar in 2020: report” FierceHealthcare, 25 Jan. 2023,

4. “Deaths by heart disease increased during COVID-19 pandemic: Study | Mint” Mint, 26 Jan. 2023,

5. “Cardiovascular deaths saw steep rise in U.S. during 1st year of COVID-19 pandemic” WLS-TV, 26 Jan. 2023,

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