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.
How Should Persons With Heart Disease Protect Themselves From The Coronavirus?
"This is a time for patients to pay even closer attention to their well-being," said Dr. Shaikh.
To reduce your risk of contracting the new coronavirus, all persons, especially those with heart disease, should:
Maintain social distancing, and stay at home.
Avoid hugging and handshaking.
Make sure you have enough medications on hand so you don’t have to leave home to pick up a prescription.
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.
Heart attacks and strokes don’t stop during a pandemic. If you think you are having symptoms of heart attack or stroke, call 911.