Heart failure, among other heart conditions, is one of the deadly killers of American men and women – and it may become extra stressful for patients, particularly during this COVID-19 outbreak.
As of three days ago, there have been five cases of COVID-19 in New York City that were associated with cardiovascular illnesses. At the top of the list was hypertension, followed by hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, and, finally, stroke. However, there is an ambiguity about whether or not the virus affects people with heart conditions, although a cardiologist who was interviewed about it explained that if you were diagnosed with multiple health illnesses, or you are overweight for instance, there is a higher likelihood that you could be at risk. But as of now, this is not clear, as the healthcare teams in the country are also seeing young and healthy individuals getting sick and dying from the virus as well.
Here are some FAQs from heart patients and answers from a qualified cardiologist.
Why do high blood pressure and hypertension become a risk factor for COVID-19?
This is not precisely clear. But the theory is that high blood pressure puts relatively more stress on the patient’s heart, plus the medications that they take for their conditions. It is not clear if this reduces or increases their vulnerability to the virus.
What are heart illnesses more greatly affected by the coronavirus?
Again, this is not clear. In the end, any virus that leads to causing more demand on the patient’s body can significantly impact their heart condition. For instance, for individuals with atrial fibrillation who suddenly have a fever with an infection, the status of his heart may become poor, and this will lead to further bouts of atrial fibrillation, which would frequently require him to be hospitalized. A condition that strains the heart further can also worsen angina or could even cause a heart attack. This type of patient may have a lesser capacity to withstand stress or body fatigue. So those with underlying health illnesses and unexpectedly become affected with the virus could be in greater danger than a person who is not afflicted with a heart condition.
What are some consequences of having COVID-19 for heart patients?
Although respiratory symptoms largely manifest COVID-19, some present with cardiovascular damage. This is according to the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. Patients who are diagnosed with a severe type of heart disease can progress in developing myocarditis. Viral diseases can cause plaques in the arteries and subsequently, a block, leading to a heart attack. From studies done on COVID-19 patients, researchers have discovered that some of them had arrhythmias, heart failure, and cardiac arrest after getting infected with the virus. Hence, it is correct to conclude that the impact of the coronavirus on the blood can potentially cause blood clots.
Is it okay for patients to postpone their stent placements and heart bypass procedures?
That will depend on the patient’s status and if the type of procedure is safe to delay. This is not an easy decision to make, so patients must discuss this concern with their primary doctor and their family about what’s best for them. If the procedures or tests are not very critical, they can be safely delayed. Still, the patient may schedule e a visit to this doctor through telemedicine if the quarantine or the outbreak does not permit him to go outdoors.
Can heart patients not go to the hospital if they are experiencing chest pains and other related symptoms?
The American College of Cardiology encourages heart patients suffering chest pains or other related symptoms of heart attack or heart failure to immediately call 911, as most hospitals might be treating emergency cases as well as safeguarding to avoid the spread of the virus. Understandably, a patient might be scared of being hospitalized because he might catch the virus while treated in the emergency department. Still, they are postponing care that is essential for them, and this may lead to a new health crisis.
They should remember, then, that the quicker they are treated, the more the likelihood for them to avoid the risk of complicating their condition. They should not in any way, delay their care.