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Oak Street Health Survey Show Impact of COVID-19 on Older Adults with Heart Disease

CHICAGO, IL — February 2, 2021 — In conjunction with the start of American Heart Health Month, Oak Street Health, a network of primary care centers that delivers value-based care to adults on Medicare, is releasing the findings from its second annual Heart Health survey to raise awareness for cardiovascular health and identify ways to prevent heart disease in older adults. 

This year, the importance of heart disease prevention and education is even more critical due to the coronavirus. In fact, Oak Street Health’s 2021 Senior Heart Health Survey revealed that 85% of older adults with heart disease surveyed took COVID-19 precautions – like social distancing and quarantining – more seriously due to the compounding impact and increased risk of severe illness.

Heart health should always be top of mind for seniors, but it’s importance during this time cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Olaoluwa Fayanju, Senior Medical Director of Oak Street Health. At Oak Street Health, we are proactive and engage often with our patients to discuss signs and symptoms of heart disease. This year, the stakes are even higher, as we know pre-existing health conditions like heart disease can lead to increased severity of COVID-19.”

Oak Street Health’s second annual survey explored how older adults feel about heart disease and the impact of COVID-19. The data set revealed the following themes:

  • Older adults are still concerned about being diagnosed with heart disease – and the fear of getting COVID-19 has only added another layer of anxiety. In 2020, Oak Street Health found that 85% of older adults without heart disease surveyed were concerned about being diagnosed with the condition. This year, in comparison, 49% of older adults without heart disease surveyed said they are concerned about getting diagnosed with the condition, while 53% of those respondents are most nervous about heart disease because of the susceptibility of contracting serious COVID-19 symptoms.
  • The increased layer of concern due to COVID-19 is driving anticipation for the vaccine. More than half (56%) of older adults with heart disease surveyed are more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine because of their diagnosis.
  • Patients rely on their primary care physician for education and management of heart health. Sixty-four percent of older adults with heart disease surveyed say their physician has communicated to them that having heart disease can put them at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. An overwhelming majority (94%) of older adults agree that their physician has equipped them with the tools to self-manage their heart disease.
  • Older adults with heart disease are lacking energy in their day to day. Forty-four percent of older adults with heart disease surveyed report that they experience a lack of energy in their daily lifestyle due to their illness. 

The limitations caused by the pandemic have created some real challenges for seniors who were focused on heart-healthy behaviors before its onset,” Dr. Fayanju continued. Simple things like going to the grocery store or attending a fitness class are either risky or not possible, and that can make it more difficult to focus on behavior modifications. This makes a primary care provider’s role even more important to help older adults navigate these times. At Oak Street Health, that means educating our patients on creative ways to remain active and eat a healthy diet, and beyond that, it means talking through concerns and educating our patients on how to stay safe and healthy throughout this pandemic.”

To learn more about Oak Street Health’s value-based primary care model, click here.

About Oak Street Health

Founded in 2012, Oak Street Health is a network of value-based primary care centers for adults on Medicare. With a mission of rebuilding healthcare as it should be, the company operates an innovative healthcare model focused on quality of care over volume of services, and assumes the full financial risk of its patients. Oak Street Health currently operates more than 75 centers across Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Indiana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, New York and Mississippi. To learn more about Oak Street Health’s proven approach to care, visit

Media Contact:
Erica Frank, Vice President of Public Relations
Oak Street Health
[email protected]

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