With the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, hitting hard and fast in the United States, many people have found their world turned upside down in many ways. We're practicing social distancing, washing our hands a lot, dining at home more, and finding ways to spend the time at home during "stay in place" guidelines.
"As during annual flu seasons, we encourage patients to be safe and conscientious about their self care," he said. "The history of this coronavirus shows us that older adults and those with underlying chronic conditions like heart disease are most at risk for developing life-threatening symptoms. And, unlike with the flu, there is not a vaccine available, and no one has any immunity for COVID-19."
Does The Coronavirus Impact The Heart?
While the COVID-19 coronavirus attacks lung, not heart, tissue, the heart is affected because it may have to work harder to try to pump oxygenated blood through the body. For someone with heart disease or heart failure, this is a serious concern.
Individuals with heart disease also may have less robust immune systems overall, which makes them more susceptible to the coronavirus's more severe complications. According to the CDC, this is because the COVID-19 coronavirus can damage the respiratory system and make it harder for your heart to work. For people with heart failure and other serious heart conditions this can lead to a worsening of COVID-19 symptoms.
How Should Persons With Heart Disease Protect Themselves From The Coronavirus?
Keep surfaces at home clean, including counters and door knobs, and avoid touching surfaces when away from home.
Find stress-reducing activities that help you mentally, such as low-impact exercise, walking, meditation and centering prayer. Spend more time on your hobbies.
If you get sick, don't panic. Stay home and call your physician's office. There are other viruses out there, including influenza, all with similar symptoms. If you have symptoms of the coronavirus (high fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing), your doctor may order a screening for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Is It Safe To Take Heart Medications During The Pandemic?
There have been rumors circulating related to safety of certain medications if a person has COVID-19. As a result, some people have stopped medications during the pandemic without their physicians’ guidance. Doing this can have severe consequences for your health.
The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and the Heart Failure Society of America have jointly released a statement stating evidence does not support stopping these medications in persons who have COVID-19 symptoms.
“Take time to review your medication list and take steps to ensure you do not run out. If you have concerns, speak with your doctor,” Dr. Rao said.
The CDC has suggestions for people with serious heart conditions during this time.
Take your medication exactly as prescribed.
Make sure that you have at least a two-week supply of your heart disease medications (such as those to treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure).
People with hypertension should continue to manage and control their blood pressure and take their medication as directed.
Heart attacks and strokes don’t stop during a pandemic. If you think you are having symptoms of heart attack or stroke, call 911.