Risks of Heart Conditions in the Midst of a Global Pandemic
Society as we know it is constantly adapting to new circumstances and conditions. Covid-19 has made an unprecedented change on the way we interact with our environment. In times of uncertainty, it is normal to be anxious of the effects this virus can have on you and your loved ones. However, thanks to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention as well as other governmental health institutions around the world, we have access to increasingly accurate information regarding the virus. To provide some ease and clarity to the anxious population, here is what we do know about patients with heart disease and Covid-19.
Are patients with heart conditions more likely to catch the virus?
No, anyone can contract the virus. Since this virus is a respiratory illness, it is spread through droplets created in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, which is what makes this virus highly contagious. This means that any individual that inhales or touches these droplets is at risk of catching the virus. Moreover, the severity of the symptoms, if any do manifest, is what dictates the risk of the virus on patients with heart conditions.
What specific heart conditions increases the risk of severe illness from Covid-19?
Underlying heart conditions typically mean the individual has a weaker immune system, which is the bodily system that fights infection and disease. In fact, according to the Heart Organization, “People’s immune systems weaken as they age… and in those with chronic medical conditions, the body’s immune response is not as strong a response when exposed to viruses.’” Here is a list of specific heart conditions that are likely to result in severe symptoms from Covid-19.
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease
- Congenital heart disease
- Pulmonary hypertension
What can you do?
Individuals from various backgrounds have felt the impact of the Coronavirus, so at one point in time we have all asked ourselves “what can I do to prevent myself and my loved from contracting the virus?” or “what can I do to help us get back to our lives before Covid-19?” For patients who are at a higher risk of having severe symptoms, it is important to:
- Take your medication.
- “Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your heart disease medicines, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure medicines” (CDC).
- Call your doctor and healthcare provider if there are any concerns.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose in public places.
- Wash your hands and frequently touched surfaces regularly.
- Drink plenty of water.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the following symptoms are typically seen in patients with heart conditions that have tested positive for the Coronavirus:
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Trouble breathing.
- Loss of taste and smell.
- Sore throat.
- Muscle pain.
It is imperative to work together to minimize exposure to protect not only yourself but also others around you from Covid-19. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or discomfort, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor.
Gilmerm. “What Heart Patients Need to Know About COVID-19.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 6 May 2020, health.clevelandclinic.org/what-heart-patients-need-to-know-about-covid-19/.
“People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 June 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html#serious-heart-conditions.
“What Heart Patients Should Know about Coronavirus.” Www.heart.org, www.heart.org/en/news/2020/02/27/what-heart-patients-should-know-about-coronavirus.
This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.
Zoya Ahmed is a current freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. She will be majoring in Biology with a minor in Government on the pre-med track in hopes to become a doctor. Her hobbies include writing, being outdoors, and learning, especially about public policy and international relations. She hopes to utilize the knowledge she gains through different experiences to grow as a person and make a difference in her community.