Is there a co-ordinated campaign to normalise heart disease?
How the world is falling over itself to ignore the elephant in the room
By Alice Jones, News Uncut columnist
AS IF the continuous stress of the last two years hasn’t been enough for us all to bear, it seems the media is now on a mission to alert us to ‘101 ways we may be struck down with a heart attack’.
It’s quite bizarre. I would fully understand anyone deciding it may be safer not to crawl out from under the duvet in the morning – that’s if they’ve made it through the night, as apparently, “the average age of sudden death during sex is 38”.
“Pass the defib darling” doesn’t make for the most comfortable postcoital chat...
For those fortunate enough to make it safely downstairs to the breakfast table, beware the next hazard. If you’re not feeling particularly resilient, best avoid the mail as “energy price rise may cause heart attacks and strokes” – perhaps put that envelope aside until you’ve swallowed down your Statins.
Meanwhile, let’s hope the white stuff didn’t appear overnight as “expert warn that shovelling snow can be a deadly way to discover underlying cardiovascular conditions...”
Dear goodness, is there any hope of getting to the office alive?
If you are brave enough to step outside – and assuming you survive the snow shovelling – beware the simple act of breathing as “air pollution triggers hundreds more heart attacks and strokes”.
It’s probably an idea to avoid the mainstream news too, which is regularly reporting alarming little ditties such as “hidden risk – urgent warning as 300,000 Brits living with stealth disease that could kill within five years” – enough to give the healthiest person palpitations.
And if you do make it through the day, keep an eye on your evening tipple because, wait for it, “risk of heart problems could be increased even if you drink less than NHS weekly units”.
It’s relentless. Heart stopping even.
Flippancy aside, while there has always been a scattering of media reports pertaining to heart disease, few could deny the current tsunami. As a well known precursor for heart disease is ongoing duress, the sheer barrage of warnings is in itself not healthy for people to ingest day in day out.
One might start to wonder if there’s some sort of co-ordinated campaign to normalise heart disease, or at least create a situation where the underlying cause is nigh on impossible to identify? An inconvenient truth perhaps, or simply an avoidance of the elephant in the room…
And that elephant is large, arguably a small herd. Firstly, there is a true pandemic of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, causing millions of deaths globally every year. Our caring Governments – the people who shut us indoors, masked us up, closed the gyms, isolated the lonely and incited fear and panic the likes of which most of us have never known – also re-opened the fast food chains first.
They did little, if anything, to encourage care of our immune systems, suggest an uptake of Vitamin D, or advise the general public of the basic ways to combat a virus. These clever PR’s in the infamous ‘nudge unit’ were fast enough to create smart warning slogans which featured at every turn – even a trip down the motorway still sees overhead warnings changed from ‘check your brakes’ to ‘get your booster’. Might they not have released some positive messages too? It wasn’t and still isn’t to be.
Then there is the virus itself, which is said to have caused blood disorders and clotting. “While increasing heart disease has been prevalent and an observable trend over the last decade, the rise in cases last year is more concerning,” says Dr Pillai. “Most healthcare professionals understand this increase to be a direct consequence of Covid-19, since the disease gravely impacts the patient’s blood vessels,” he says. (Times of India 06/21)
Tagging along at the end, is the baby elephant – the little one who is bound to grow. While they continue to push the vaccines apace into younger and younger people, knowledge and evidence of heart-related issues – now widely published and acknowledged – is hidden in plain sight.
Tragically, the fit and healthy seem almost more susceptible and reports of people collapsing on sports fields now runs into shocking figures. How handy, therefore, that stories are featuring in press outlets around the world giving dire warnings of everything from the sublime to the ridiculous being a potential heart attack trigger.
Choose your elephant. Just don’t fall off and give yourself a cardiac arrest...