For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to reassess priorities in their lives, spend more time with loved ones, and take care of some projects or personal issues that they’ve been avoiding. But some people may have been avoiding their heart health.

Dr. Christopher DeSimone, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says he's concerned some patients may have been ignoring symptoms, waiting six or nine months, or even a year, before going to in for a medical exam.

"What's really heartbreaking is there are things we could have offered patients — medicines and interventions — things that we could have caught in an earlier time frame," DeSimone says. "We could have really impacted their quality of life and lessened their risk from dying of heart disease."

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, DeSimone talks more about the concerns of delayed heart health care and describes heart disease symptoms. And he emphasizes how safe it is to go to the hospital for a heart check during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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