Pandemic impacts on heart health

Heart Health month
Heart Health month(Baylor Scott and White)
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 7:16 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - This heart health month, doctors at Baylor Scott and White are hoping unhealthy habits learned during the pandemic will start to go away as cases decline.

“Generally stress levels have been higher across the board,” Dr. Dan Langsjoen explained.

He says he’s noticed the pandemic taking a toll on his patients at his Baylor Scott and White Clinic. On top of added stress he says changes in eating habits have contributed to poor heart health, as well as changes in exercising, as some people who used to go to the gym, stopped.

With COVID hospitalizations also down, Langsjoen also says anyone experiencing heart symptoms should not wait to be seen.

“If you’re wondering ’do I need to go to the hospital to get checked out?’ I think right now the presence of COVID shouldn’t dissuade that,” Langsjoen said.

He’s encouraging patients to keep their heart health top of mind, remembering how they move, eat and sleep have the biggest influence on their heart.

Russell Battles thought he was taking good care of each of those things after spending almost two years losing weight and changing his habits, until August of last year when everything changed after a workout.

“I got dizzy, thought I just overheated, ended up passing out and blacked out three times,” Battles said.

During one of those falls he cut open his head, and when the bleeding wouldn’t stop, he finally went to an emergency room.

He says doctors did an EKG to look into why he passed out when they discovered he was having a heart attack.

“There’s no way, I’m up talking I have no pain nothing,” Battles recalls.

“When I tell people I had a heart attack they’re like ‘how did you have a heart attack in such good health?’” he said.

Battles learned his heart condition was genetic, now he’s fully recovered and thankful for the conversations with his doctors about what his heart health should look like.

“I didn’t have pain, or tingling in my left arm so I’m realizing I need to listen to other signals my body is giving me,” Battles said.

He says he worries that if he didn’t go to the hospital when he did last August that he may not have survived.

“Had I not been bleeding I wasn’t going to go in. My biggest takeaway from this is if its not normal, go get it checked out. don’t take it for granted,” Battles said.

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