COVID-19 is taking over the continent. Schools have closed, major sporting events have been canceled or suspended, and people are being urged to avoid large crowds.
And if you have a heart condition, you could be at even greater risk of being gripped by the illness.
Early information out of China, where the pandemic originated, is showing that people with heart disease and type-2 diabetes are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
If you have heart disease or suffer from heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or poor circulation, you wa
nt to take some extra precautions to reduce your risk.
Aside from sticking to a heart-healthy diet and stockpiling heart-healthy, nutritious foods and making sure you have at least a two-week supply of any required medications, here are some things you should consider.
- Exercise with caution: If you participate in group exercise programs or use shared equipment in a gym or circuit-training setting, be careful. It might be best to stick to outdoor exercise (walks, bike rides, etc.). At this point, the risk is considered low if you’re not in close contact with others, so walking in a park or a quiet street should be okay. If you do choose to use a shared facility, gloves are a must. Also, avoid direct contact with others and be sure to regularly wash your hands.
- Avoid crowded spaces: Because there is evidence that people with heart disease may have a higher risk, it’s important to take precautions. If you have tickets to a play or party that is going ahead as planned, skip it. Avoiding others, at this point, is the best defense.
- Pay careful attention to how you feel: Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
Persistent pressure or pain in the chest
- Be in touch with family: Younger family members may be able to drop food at your home if you can’t leave. Meal-delivery services may also be available.
Other, early symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
When a body is dealing with a weakened immune system from inflammatory conditions like heart disease and diabetes, it becomes harder to defend against other viruses and bacteria. The best defense is to improve heart health and act accordingly to your situation.