ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — After almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are still learning about all of the virus’ health effects. Now a new survey shows COVID-19 is affecting heart health more than expected.

Recovering from COVID-19 can be a long process filled with unexpected complications. A new survey conducted by the Cleveland Clinic shows one in every four Americans who tested positive for COVID-19 say the virus has impacted their heart health.

Tamanna Singh, MD, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic told Ivanhoe, “We definitely know that COVID-19 does affect the heart. We know that the virus causes dysfunction within our vessels, it can precipitate clots in our legs, clots in our lungs, even clots in our heads or strokes.”

The survey also revealed that 41 percent of Americans have experienced at least one heart-related issue, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, increased blood pressure, or chest pain, since the beginning of the pandemic. And the respondents reported sitting more throughout the day.

“What we found was more individuals were actually sedentary than not,” detailed Dr. Singh.

Experts say that simply moving more and sitting less can lower the risk for heart problems. So can consuming a healthy diet of unprocessed foods and adopting an overall healthy lifestyle. But one-third of survey respondents didn’t know that stress, high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking can increase the risk of heart disease.

“We can’t take control of our genetics, but we can still reduce our risk by 90 percent,” shared Dr. Singh.

Just simple steps, such as including more vegetables and exercising a little each day, can add up and benefit your heart.

The survey also found that 34 percent of respondents feel that if they have a family history of heart disease, there’s nothing they can do to lower their risk of developing that heart condition. But experts say early screening and treatment can save lives.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor & Videographer