February is heart awareness month, and we know how important it is to keep you and your heart healthy – especially during a pandemic, and chances are, you know it too. If you have been diagnosed with a heart disorder or struggle with high blood pressure, you may have been told that you’re at a higher risk for developing a serious cardiac condition. However, being in the state of a global pandemic, you may be questioning if seeking care is even safe right now.
We understand the fear and anxiety that has been coupled with the COVID-19 virus – leaving many people anxious to even leave their home to go to the grocery store, let alone a doctor’s appointment. Though, managing a heart condition is important now more than ever before. Not only does maintaining open communication with your doctor help keep you healthy and safe, but it also reduces your risk of long-term health conditions, such as heart failure, stroke, and heart attack.
Unfortunately, those with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, are more at risk for contracting COVID-19 due to their weaker immune system – making it harder to fight off the infection. But the good news is there are several steps you can take to stay healthy and safe during the pandemic, including scheduling routine appointments with your doctor!
Know Your Risk:
Unfortunately, everyone is at risk for developing heart disease, but people at a higher threat include those who:
- smoke or are often around secondhand smoke.
- are not getting enough physical activity.
- have poor eating habits and don’t maintain a healthy diet.
- are overweight or obese.
- have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Your age and family medical history are also key factors in your risk for heart disease. These people include:
- Women over the age of 55
- Men over the age of 45
- Men or women whose mothers or sisters have had heart disease before the age of 65.
- Men or women whose fathers or brothers have had heart disease before the age of 55.
Managing and Preventing Heart Conditions through Healthy Habits:
- Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are key for a healthy heart and managing high blood pressure. If going to the gym right now is out of the question, be sure to do some cardio, like taking a walk around your neighborhood at least 5 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Not only will this help you stay active and reduce stress, but it will also increase your vitamin D intake, which is beneficial in fighting COVID-19.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption and avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
- Take medications prescribed by your doctor and schedule routine visits for refills, if necessary. It’s also important to avoid any over-the-counter medications that can affect or interfere with your blood pressure.
- Monitor your blood pressure, especially if you have hypertension (high blood pressure) or heart disease.
Know When to Seek Medical Care for COVID-19 and Heart Conditions:
It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends watching out for:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Extreme fatigue
- Severe body aches or muscle pains
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Noticeable signs and symptoms of suffering from a heart and stroke may include:
- Chest pain or pressure, especially during physical activity.
- Loss of vision
- Arm weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Facial drooping on one side of the face
- Severe headache
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, especially when associated with:
- Leg swelling
- Losing consciousness
We understand your desire to delay medical care due to fears of COVID-19 but ignoring severe health issues can lead to long-term health conditions and in some cases, death. Stay connected with your Eagles Landing Health provider, and don’t avoid getting the care you need. Your life may just depend on it.
COVID-19 and Heart Related Resources: