Though the relentless spread of coronavirus around the globe has grabbed everyone’s attention, people with heart disease need to be extra attentive as they have a greater risk of developing COVID-19.
Coronavirus affects the respiratory system, mainly the lungs. But it could also affect the heart, especially a diseased heart, that has already been struggling to get the oxygenated blood throughout the body. So, heart patients need to take additional, reasonable precautions in order to cut down their risk.
Heart patients who are considered to be at increased risk of developing COVID-19 are those who have:
- History of heart attack or stroke
- Chronic heart failure
- Heart valve disease
- Conditions that affect heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation
- Peripheral artery disease
- Narrowed blood vessels due to plaque build-up
As mentioned earlier, heart patients need to take extra care while following the standard precautions. Check the precautionary measures that help to stay protected from coronavirus.
Apart from the safety measures, here are the answers to some common queries most of the patients might have.
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What should people with underlying health conditions do to avoid coronavirus?
Since the coronavirus spreads by coughs and sneezes from the infected person and by coming into contact with the surfaces or objects with viruses on them; the only advice for everyone is to maintain social distancing to reduce their risk.
But, as it might not be possible for each individual to isolate themselves due to their work-life; it is advised that at least people who are aged over 70, pregnant women and people who are under 70 years with underlying health conditions need to practice social distancing as they are more vulnerable to getting infected.The underlying health conditions which pose a higher risk of coronavirus, include:
- Chronic heart conditions
- Kidney disease
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Lung diseases
What is meant by social distancing? How can we do it?
Social distancing is one of the infection controlling actions intended to prevent the spread of a contagious disease. It is the most effective method to minimize disease transmission, especially when an infection transmits through direct contact or droplet contact from the infected people.
To keep it simple, social distancing is nothing but increasing the physical spaces between people in order to avoid the spread of illness. Here are some measures to maintain social distancing and reduce your risk of coronavirus:
- Try to avoid public transport and do not schedule your travel times during peak, rush hours, if possible
- Avoid any kind of physical contact with the people who are suspected to have coronavirus
- Stay away from large gatherings and avoid gathering at public places that could increase the risk of infection
- Avoid any events that would involve large groups. Instead, stay in touch with phones, social media.
Should people with heart conditions or hypertension stop taking the prescribed medicines to reduce their risk of severe coronavirus?
It is strongly advisable for the patients to continue their medicines as prescribed and not to stop them unless they are advised differently by their doctors.
Moreover, there is no evidence that medicines prescribed for heart conditions and blood pressure would increase the risk of coronavirus. Besides, stopping the medications definitely takes a toll on the patient’s health and could make the condition even worse.
As the prescribed medicines are very effective to keep the high blood pressure under control and prevent a heart attack or a stroke, patients should continue their medicines unless they are asked to stop or change them by their doctor.