Coronavirus: Tips for heart disease patients
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who have underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. This includes people who have heart conditions. David McNeely, MD, Carolina Cardiology Consultants, explained why and what you can do to protect yourself from the virus.
How does the virus impact heart disease patients?
“There are many unanswered questions regarding the effects of COVID-19, due to the lack of experience and time to research it,” said Dr. McNeely. “However, early experience suggests that patients with a history of heart disease have an increased risk compared to patients without heart disease. In addition, COVID-19 can cause myocarditis – infection of the heart muscle – which can cause heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms.”
What are some ways you can protect yourself?
- Obey the guidelines regarding social distancing.
- Go out in public as little as possible (only for essentials), and when you do try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
- Wear a face mask when out in public.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Wipe off surfaces you must touch with disinfectant wipes.
“This is the most effective way to avoid catching the virus, and to avoid transmitting it to others,” Dr. McNeely said.
It’s also important to continue with your regular medical care, and make sure you’re taking your prescription medication.
Don’t ignore your symptoms.
If you think you have coronavirus symptoms, call your doctor and he or she can tell you what to do. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call 911. Don’t delay because of concerns about exposure to the virus. Symptoms include:
- Chest pressure or squeezing, aching or burning
- Shortness of breath
- Back pain
- Excessive fatigue
- Jaw pain
- Pain that travels down one or both arms
- Feeling of fullness
You can experience any or all of these symptoms. When they start, they may be mild or come and go, but over time the symptoms and pain will increase.
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