With COVID-19 on the verge of taking the whole world in its grip, there is a greater risk for heart patients and even for people with other underlying health issues. Serious concerns are surrounding this pandemic.
Therefore, the American College of Cardiology came up with its bulletin update in March aimed towards warning patients regarding the increased heart disease risk factors. If reports are to be believed, approximately 40% of the hospitalized Corona infected patients had heart diseases or cerebrovascular diseases.
According to the ACC, mortality and morbidity increase with age. They are 8% in patients between ages 70 and 79, while 14.8% in patients above 80 years of age. Therefore, we can see clearly that older heart patients, in particular, need to be wary of COVID-19.
Let us see in depth how patients with compromised heart health can protect themselves.
Effects of Coronavirus on People With Poor Heart Vascular Health
Experts believe that the coronavirus can affect people with heart disease symptoms and even with respiratory diseases in several ways. Broadly speaking, the main target of the virus is the human lung.
However, the coronavirus is also likely to harm the heart. A diseased heart needs to work harder to get oxygenated blood across the body. Since the lungs are at risk, blood circulation could be further exacerbated for people with a history of heart failure.
What’s more, people with underlying heart problems might even have less vigorous immune systems. This might not help them in fighting the virus when they are exposed to it. Thus, if such people catch the virus, it will stick around and result in various complications.
Precautions for Heart Patients in These Times
While being a heart patient does not mean you are destined to be infected, it is better to be safe than sorry. Hence, coronavirus prevention is the right medicine.
There are plenty of ways you can decrease your chances of catching the virus. Heart patients must abide by the suggestions given by WHO, the federal, state, and local governments, as well as the CDC. Instructions that you need to follow are:
- Avoid touching any area of your body without sanitising your hands.
- Frequently wash hands for 20 seconds at least. You can also use hand sanitisers if you do not have water nearby.
- Stock up on prescription medicines.
- Take heart medications regularly without fail.
- Pay extra attention to signs like chest pain, breathing difficulty, and irregular heartbeat.
- Take flu shots. Remain updated with pneumococcal vaccines for protection against pneumococcal diseases like bloodstream infections, meningitis, and pneumonia.
- Clean those surfaces which you touch very often like light switches, keyboards, phones, and doorknobs.
- Stay home. It is mandatory for people living in locations that have been identified as hot spots by the government.
- Do not forget about social distancing even when you are at home.
Experiencing Heart Attacks During Coronavirus Pandemic
Heart patients may experience the following symptoms of a heart attack during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Deteriorating chest pains
- Breathing difficulty
In this case, you must call the emergency services as soon as possible. They will assess your symptoms and advice accordingly.
Remember that this is a pandemic situation, so you should not make any delays. The hospitals and their staff members will put in the best efforts in treating you in a safe and segregated environment.
What If You Think You Are Infected?
If you have a history of heart diseases, you may be a little worried about being infected by the novel COVID-19. If you experience symptoms like fever and cough, take the following steps:
Call Your Healthcare Professional
- Give your healthcare professional a call for discussing the next steps.
- There are different recommendations for different locales when it comes to who should be hospitalised or tested.
- Your doctor will guide you on what needs to be done and where you need to go.
Do Not Stop Your Medicines
- Prescription medicines should not be stopped.
- Though reports suggest that some heart medicines might help the virus in multiplying, there is no evidence supporting this fact. You can address this issue with your doctor to know more.
- Heart patients must take their medicines, especially the ones for diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Maintaining Heart Health For Near Future
- Sticking to your regular routine might get a bit difficult during this global pandemic. But you should not deter from eating right and exercising regularly.
- Physical activity is extremely crucial, even in these times of social distancing. According to the AHA or American Heart Association, people with poor heart health should practice 150 minutes of aerobic exercises every week.
- You do not need to go out for a walk. Choose your garden or the balcony for doing some moderate exercises.
- Also, maintaining heart-healthy diet habits is important during the coronavirus lockdown. Be sure to avoid junk food and stick to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Doctors treating COVID-19 patients with compromised heart health still do not know how medicines affect the virus and the patient’s heart. But they recommend not stopping regular heart medications as they help in controlling blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.
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