What extra precautions should people with heart disease take to reduce their risk of getting COVID-19?
If you are at higher risk, it is important to follow the precautions recommended by the CDC. These include:
- Practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds.
- Covering your mouth and nose with a mask when you are around others.
- Being relentless about washing your hands with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoiding touching your face.
- Staying away from people who are sick, including family members.
- Cleaning surfaces in your home frequently, especially high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, phones and tablets, and light switches.
- Making sure you have extra medications on hand. If you need a refill, call your pharmacy directly.
What should people with heart disease do to manage it during this time?
While it seems like everything is changing around us, try to follow your normal routine – stick to your care plan and maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle by:
- Taking your medications as prescribed, including ACE inhibitors and ARBs.
- Keeping up with your regularly scheduled appointments. Most providers are offering virtual appointments, usually over video, and seeing patients in the office for more urgent needs.
- Eating a heart-healthy diet, like the Mediterranean Diet, and avoiding red meat and cheese.
- If you’re buying more canned foods than usual, be aware that many canned foods are high in salt. Look for low-sodium canned foods or try to buy fresh fruits and vegetables if you can.
- Getting aerobic exercise. You can safely practice social distancing while biking or walking briskly outside, or even walking briskly around your house.
- You don’t need a heart-rate monitor. If you’re breaking a light sweat after 15 minutes, that’s a sign that you are exercising hard enough.
- Aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week (or 150 minutes per week).
What myths have you heard about COVID-19 and heart disease?
The biggest myth is that it is not safe to take ACE inhibitors, which a common type of medication used for the treatment of high blood pressure. Both the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have recommended that people currently taking ACE-I drugs should continue to take these medications. The benefits of taking them outweigh the potential risks.
If you have any questions or concerns about your medications, talk to your healthcare provider.
What should people with heart disease do if they are having symptoms of COVID-19?
If you have any concerning symptoms, contact your provider. It's important to get treatment as soon as possible.
Contact the HonorHealth nurse line if you symptoms of coronavirus at 480-587-6200 or chat with a caregiver. They can direct you to the best place for care. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
Note: This article was last reviewed on May 12, 2020. We will continue to update it as new information becomes available.