Our world is in a frightening and uncertain time as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread across countries, states, and towns. With its spread, the virus has seemingly impacted the elderly and those with underlying health conditions more severely than others. As a result, it has left many with heart conditions to wonder about their own health and safety. Are you more vulnerable to COVID-19 if you have a heart condition? What can you do to protect yourself? Here are a few answers that may help.
Do I Have an Increased Risk for Coronavirus if I Have a Heart Condition?
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that having a heart condition makes you more likely to catch coronavirus. However, it can mean that, should you catch the illness, it will have a greater impact on you than others. This can mean more severe symptoms or a longer recovery time.
Heart patients who are most at risk include those who have had a transplant and pregnant women who also have any significant form of heart disease. Additionally, others who are considered high risk include those who have any of the following:
- Heart failure
- Valve disease
- Heart disease with chronic kidney or lung disease
- Heart disease and being over the age of 70
- Recent open-heart surgery
- Complex congenital heart disease such as single ventricle, cyanosis, or Fontan
Can Blood Pressure Medication Cause More Severe Coronavirus Symptoms?
In addition to the above conditions, patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure may also be at an increased risk for more severe cases of coronavirus. Unfortunate and unfounded rumors have some believing that common medications to control blood pressure such as ACE inhibitors can contribute to more severe symptoms in those who contract COVID-19. In reality, a much greater risk to health is posed by not continuing to take prescribed medications as normal.
How Can I Reduce My Coronavirus Risk if I Have a Heart Condition?
At this time, everyone, regardless of risk, should be vigilant in taking precautions to protect both themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19. However, people such as those with heart conditions who are considered high risk must be especially careful. In order to best protect yourself, follow all CDC and state guidelines, including:
- Wash hands frequently (particularly after visiting places outside of your home). Use soap and water and clean every part of the hands, fingers, and fingernails for at least 20 seconds. You may also use sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60% or more.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Practice social distancing, only leaving your home to go outside for exercise or for essential trips like going to the grocery store. When you are out, maintain a distance of 6 feet or more between yourself and others. When possible, opt for delivery or curbside services in lieu of going inside.
While this may all feel overwhelming, remember that Cardiovascular Institute of the South remains steadfast in our commitment to bringing you cardiovascular care. If you ever have a question or concern regarding your health, please do not hesitate to contact us.