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Are Heart Patients at higher risk of COVID 19?

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May 15, 2020 0 1 minute, 52 seconds read
Dr. Vanita Arora
Director and Head Cardiac Electrophysiology Lab & Arrhythmia Services Max Saket
Cardiac Sciences, Cardiology

Coronavirus has everyone's attention. Everyone is being cautious and people with heart diseases have reasons to be morecautious.Individuals who are above 65 with hypertension, diabetes or are suffering from any heart related illnesses, the concern is serious as they may develop more severe and rapid symptoms.
The virus could affect heart disease patients in several ways like causing ischaemia, myocarditis, arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrest.

Any individual can contact the virus in the same manner, i.e., via droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing, talkingor via touching contaminated surfaces.
It directly infects the lungs, as a result of which there occurs a fall in the blood oxygen level. The inflammatory effect of the virus can cause the blood pressure to drop. In such cases, the heart must beat faster and harder, to supply oxygen to major organs.
During this scenario, people with existing heart problems where pumping of the heart is inefficient, this virus can cause a severeand rapid deterioration.  

People with chronic medical conditions and existing heart issues may also have a less robust immune system and their body’s immune response may not be as strong when exposed to coronavirus.
The people who have fat/cholesterolbuildup in their arteries, also known as plaques, may also be at risk from this virus. Research indicates that viral illnesses may destabilize these plaques, possibly contributing to blockage of artery supplying blood into the heart, thus putting patients at risk of heart attack. 

One challenge that heart specialists may face is that previous viruses that affected the society at large, such as SARS, MERS offered more insights as compared to Coronavirus, for which information is changing almost every hour.These earlier viruses were also linked to problems such as inflammation of the heart muscle, heart attack and rapid-onset heart failure. 

There are no special protocols for higher-risk cardiac patients, except for being more careful in protecting themselves by staying at home, maintaining social distance,washing hands regularly, keeping surfaces clean.
In addition to these recommendations, it is extremely important to do exercise (can practice breathing exercise at home), yoga, meditation, get enough sleep, manage stress, and eat a balanced diet. These healthy habits will help to bolster the immune system in the longer term.

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