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COVID-19: What Heart Patients Need to Know

COVID-19: What Heart Patients Need to Know

Patients with heart disease have extra reasons to be concerned about coronavirus, according to experts with the American Heart Association.

For people with underlying heart issues, the concerns are serious. It appears elderly people with coronary heart disease or high blood pressure are more likely to be infected and to develop more severe symptoms.

Based on early reports, 40% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease (which refers to blood flow in the brain, such as stroke).

The virus's main target is the lungs. But that could affect the heart, especially a diseased heart, which has to work harder to get oxygenated blood throughout the body. That could exacerbate problems for someone with heart failure, where the heart is already having problems
pumping efficiently.

Someone with an underlying heart issue also might have a less robust immune system. People's immune systems weaken as they age.

A virus also may pose a special risk for people who have the fatty buildup known as plaque in their arteries. Evidence indicates similar viral illnesses can destabilize these plaques, potentially resulting in the blockage of an artery feeding blood to the heart, putting patients at risk of
heart attack.

Information about COVID-19 is changing rapidly. But previous coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and MERS, offer insight. They were linked to problems like inflammation of the heart muscle, heart attack and rapid-
onset heart failure.

Anyone with serious heart conditions should follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including hand-washing, physical distancing and eating a healthy diet to protect the immune system.


North Oaks Health
Louisiana Dept. of
Centers for Disease Prevention &
National Alliance on Mental
Keeping Calm through COVID Hotline – 1 (866) 310-7977 (24/7)
North Oaks Screening Line – (985) 230-2778