As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, scientists and researchers are discovering more about the virus and how it affects human beings. In the beginning, medical professionals have known that older adults and individuals with preexisting medical illnesses, which include heart disease, have a higher likelihood of getting infected with the coronavirus. And for the millions of American adults with heart conditions, that threat provokes many questions.
Cardiologists say that they are learning more about the disease every day. It creates confusion for patients as well as healthcare providers, but they can make suggestions based on the data that they have so far.
The Heart And The Coronavirus
This new virus is a respiratory illness and mostly affects the lungs. However, when the lungs no longer work effectively, the heart needs to exert more effort to supply oxygen-filled blood throughout the body. The stress that this work causes can be hazardous for those with existing heart conditions. COVID-19 presents a higher risk to individuals who have underlying illnesses, including diabetes, coronary heart disease, previous stroke, and high blood pressure.
People who belong to the groups mentioned above have a higher potential of catching the virus. They also have a higher likelihood of developing severe symptoms if ever they get sick. Seniors with heart conditions are particularly susceptible, although if you have an existing heart condition at any age, you must be mindful of the potential risks from the coronavirus. Experts admit that there is still a lot more to learn about COVID-19, but it is sensible to assume that a person with heart disease, even the young, is highly vulnerable.
Prevention For Heart Patients
Being potentially vulnerable doesn’t necessarily mean that you are fated to get the disease or that your condition is worse than the others in case you do catch it. But as they always say, prevention is better than cure. Below are some best practices to follow to best prevent you from getting infected.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 to 30 seconds. If you’re outdoors and a sink is not easily accessible, use alcohol or hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.
- As much as possible, do not touch your face.
- Regularly disinfect surfaces that you often touch, such as doorknobs, phones, switches, and keyboards.
- Follow social distancing measures being enforced in your community and stay at home.
- Buy your medication ahead of time and buy extra in case you won’t be able to get out of the house.
- Load up on vitamins, eat the right food, and drink a lot of water to keep yourself healthy.
What To Do If You Think You Are Infected
If you notice COVID-19 symptoms like cough, fever, or fatigue, call your doctor immediately and ask the next step for you. There are different recommendations depending on the area you are in, and your doctor can provide you with the appropriate advice. You should not stop taking your heart medications without talking to your doctor. So far, cardiologists do not recommend that their patients change their heart and blood pressure medicines. Truthfully, they do not know whether or not these medications might impact the virus. The only sure thing they know is that it is dangerous to stop taking their prescriptions, especially for diabetes and heart disease.
Cardiologists also advise that people seek help or reach out to their doctors if they have other symptoms, including diarrhea, difficulty breathing, sore throat, chest pain, muscle fatigue, confusion, chills, or headaches.
Keeping The Heart Healthy For The Future
During pandemics such as this one, it can definitely be difficult to maintain your usual practices. However, sustaining your exercise routines and a healthy diet are as vital as ever. The American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes of adequate physical activity weekly, 30 minutes a day, and at least five days a week. People must be extra cautious of social distancing, but it is essential to exercise. Walking is great for overall physical and mental health as we are dealing with this global crisis.
This pandemic will not last forever, but you must prepare your heart for the possible consequences. You are going to survive this. Do not lose sight of your long-term health.