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Doctors explain why heart disease patients should not put off appointments because of the pandemic

A recent Cleveland Clinic survey finds 52% of Americans put off health screenings or check-ups in fear of contracting COIVID-19.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This Valentine's Day remember to give your heart a little love and attention.

Many Americans are putting their heart health on hold due to fear of contracting COVID-19. That’s according to a recent Cleveland Clinic survey.

It finds that about half of Americans, 52% put off health screenings or check-ups because of the pandemic.

And 85% of Americans say they are concerned about contracting COVID-19 when seeking treatment for health issues at a doctor’s office.

Dr. Samir Kapadia, Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic says this may be bad for your heart.

"People are not seeking medical advice, and they are staying at home despite the face that they have significant symptoms, either heart-related symptoms or not heart-related symptoms," Dr. Kapadia said.

RELATED: Blood clots, stroke are now potential side effects of COVID-19

Results show one-in-three people with heart disease have stopped taking heart-related medications, and 65 percent have delayed check-ups or screenings—fearing contracting COVID-19.

According to the CDC, people with heart conditions have an increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.

"If you ever contract COVID, this kind of situations can make the outcomes even worse, rather than better, so filling medications, taking medications regularly, having proper lab work to check if the medications are working or not, all these are very crucial steps," Dr. Kapadia said. 

RELATED: Doctors are concerned how COVID-19 may impact those with diabetes

Survey participants also reported gaining weight in the pandemic with one quarter gaining more than 20 pounds.

However, about 30% said they're exercising more and eating a healthier diet.

"If you look at it positively, you can invest in your health a little bit more and be even healthier in the past," Dr. Kapadia said. 

Mecklenburg County health officials encouraging people to stay active and get support to make changes for their heart health.

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