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Heart dysfunction is often asymptomatic in the early stages. That's why it's important to know how your condition can affect your heart before damage occurs.
Though there are many chronic diseases that can increase the risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes are two of the most common—and often co-morbid—risk factors. For this reason, it is highly encouraged that patients diagnosed with these conditions are aware of the risks and understand the effects on their heart health.
High blood pressure increases the heart's workload, causing stress to the muscle and causing the heart to function abnormally, increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.¹ Alongside obesity, smoking and/or diabetes, the risk of heart attack or stroke is even higher.¹
Diabetes seriously increases the risk of heart disease. Even when glucose levels are under control, diabetes may still put the heart at risk of heart attack or stroke. The risk is even higher if glucose levels are not well controlled.⁴
 American Heart Association. Understand Your Risks to Prevent a Heart Attack. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/understand-yourrisks-to-prevent-a-heart-attack  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts About Hypertension. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm  Million Hearts 2022. Estimated Hypertension Prevalence, Treatment, and Control Among U.S. Adults. https://millionhearts.hhs.gov/data-reports/hypertension-prevalence.html  Wu, C. Y., Hu, H. Y., Chou, Y. J., Huang, N., Chou, Y. C., & Li, C. P. (2015). High Blood Pressure and All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortalities in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Medicine, 94(47), e2160. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000002160  Johns Hopkins Medicine. Diabetes and Heart Disease. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/diabetes/diabetes-and-heart-disease  Grundy, S.M., Benjamin, I. J., Burke, G. L., Chait, A., Eckel, R.H., Howard, B. V., Mitch, W., Smith, S. C., Sowers, J. R. (1999). Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation, 100, 10. https://www.ahajournals.org doi/10.1161/01.CIR.100.10.1134  Web MD. Heart Disease and Diabetes. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/heart-blood-disease
Cancer care saves lives. However, there is mounting evidence that many cancer therapies may cause cardiotoxicity—a condition that causes heart dysfunction and damages the heart over time. Cardiotoxicity may continue to affect the heart long after a patient has entered remission. As a result, cancer survivors may be at an increased risk of developing heart disease.
 European Society of Cardiology (2019). Cancer patients are at higher risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Cancer-patients-are-at-higher-risk-of-dying-from-heart-disease-and-stroke.  American Cancer Society (2020). Protect Your Heart During Cancer Treatment. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/protect-your-heart-during-cancer-treatment.html  Bankhead, C. (2020). MI May Fuel Breast Cancer Recurrence, Mortality. Medpage Today. https://www.medpagetoday.com/hematologyoncology/breastcancer/87603?vpass=1
There is growing consensus among the leading medical societies that COVID-19 may be linked to heart damage. A recent study has shown signs of heart damage in 3 of 4 recovered COVID patients, including those who were asymptomatic or who had no known underlying condition. This evidence suggests that recovered COVID patients may also be at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which can eventually lead to heart failure.¹
 Walter, M. (2020). 78% of COVID-19 patients show signs of heart damage after recovery. Cardiovascular Business. https://www.cardiovascularbusiness.com/topics/covid-19/78-covid-19-patients-heart-damage-recovery  Puntmann, V. O., Carerj, M. L., Wieters, I., Fahim, M., Arendt, C., Hoffmann, J., Shchendrygina, A., Escher, F., Vasa-Nicotera, M., Zeiher, A. M., Vehreschild, M., & Nagel, E. (2020). Outcomes of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients Recently Recovered From Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA cardiology, 5(11), 1265–1273. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.3557  Ducharme, J (2021). Almost 25% of COVID-19 Patients Develop Long-Lasting Symptoms, According to a New Report. Time. https://time.com/6073522/long-covid-prevalence/
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, often lowering oxygen levels and stressing the heart mechanically.¹ Patients with sleep apnea face an increased risk of heart disease and other heart-related conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and even sudden cardiac death.²
 (2020). Why Sleep Apnea Raises Your Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-sleep-apnea-raises-your-risk-of-sudden-cardiac-death/  (2020). What you need to know about how sleep apnea affects your heart. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea-and-heart-disease-stroke  Sleep Apnea Information for Clinicians. American Sleep Apnea Association. https://www.sleepapnea.org/learn/sleep-apnea-information-clinicians/  Jean-Louis, G., Zizi, F., Clark, L. T., Brown, C. D., & McFarlane, S. I. (2008). Obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease: role of the metabolic syndrome and its components. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 4(3), 261–272.  Rob Newsom (2021). Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-apnea/sleep-apnea-linked-heart-disease
 Ohyama, Y., Volpe, G. J., & Lima, J. A. (2014). Subclinical Myocardial Disease in Heart Failure Detected by CMR. Current cardiovascular imaging reports, 7, 9269. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12410-014-9269-x