Doctors turn to radio to educate community on dangers of delaying cardiac care

MGN Online

Valley Baptist Physician Network is turning to the radio waves as another means of reaching local residents who are coping with cardiac conditions but may be too afraid to seek care during the ongoing COVID pandemic.

As part of the ongoing “Your Heart Health Can’t Wait” public education campaign, VBPN physicians are recording announcements focused on the symptoms of cardiac disease, and a reminder of the damage COVID-19 can do to the heart.

Dr. Fadi Alfayoumi, a cardiologist with VBPN, explains the campaign.

“It is important that, even in the midst of the COVID pandemic, people seek appropriate medical care to address symptoms including chest discomfort, shortness of breath and palpitations that may be indicative of a cardiovascular condition requiring evaluation,” said Dr. Alfayoumi. “We cannot allow the virus to cause people to delay needed and appropriate medical care.”

COVID-19 can attack the heart, damaging heart muscle and causing blood clots. Heart disease symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, heart palpitations and swelling of arms or legs. As part of the campaign, Valley Baptist Physician Network set up a 24/7 hotline to help listeners who may have these symptoms immediately find a doctor in their area: 855-93-HEART (1-855-934-3278).

According to a study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there was a drop in hospitalization rates in the early days of the pandemic, potentially driven by fear of infection. Many older residents throughout the community are still afraid to seek the care they need.

“Your safe care is our priority,” said Dr. Alfayoumi. “Our clinics have effective protections in place for our community and staff. We screen everyone at the door, require continuous masking, and practice social distancing.”

The campaign runs all month on both traditional and streaming radio stations.