Amid the global COVID-19 disease pandemic, you may be wondering how the coronavirus impacts you if you currently have heart disease.
The reality is, heart disease increases your risk of getting COVID-19. That's because the coronavirus can impact your heart along with your body's respiratory system. This novel virus may even lead to acute respiratory disease and pneumonia.
Fortunately, you can take steps to protect yourself against the coronavirus.
Here's a rundown on the impact of the coronavirus on immunocompromised individuals. We'll also show you how you can prevent infection.
Let's get started!
COVID-19 and Heart Damage
Two key complications of COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, include acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and lung injury. However, heart damage is now also being recognised as a possible outcome of the disease.
Many individuals who contract the novel coronavirus will have mild symptoms or moderate symptoms. However, if you currently have heart disease, you are more at risk of developing heart-related issues. These include heart attacks.
In fact, in some patients, their initial COVID-19 symptoms were cardiovascular in nature rather than being related to their respiratory systems. Still, if you have heart disease, you could also develop severe respiratory issues along with cardiovascular complications due to COVID-19.
How COVID-19 Impacts Those with Undiagnosed Heart Disease
Coronavirus-related injury to your heart is also a major threat if you have previously undiagnosed disease of the heart.
If you don't realise you have heart disease and you end up contracting the coronavirus, your infection might end up unmasking your previously silent heart-related symptoms.
For instance, let's say that you have blockages in your heart vessels. Inflammation, infection, and fever stemming from COVID-19 could destabilise the previously asymptomatic plaques inside your heart vessels.
Inflammation and fever could also make your blood more vulnerable to clotting. At the same time, they could interfere with your body's natural ability to fully dissolve clots.
Simply put, COVID-19 can become an unwanted stress test that reveals issues with your heart.
How COVID-19 Impacts People without Underlying Heart Issues
COVID-19 might not affect some heart-disease-free individuals from a cardiac standpoint. However, other people might experience damage to the heart that mimics heart attack–related injury.
This can happen even if these individuals' arteries don't have the calcified, fatty blockages that limit blood flow and cause heart attacks. How? Because their hearts might lack oxygen due to a mismatch between the demand for oxygen and the supply of oxygen.
The reality is, inflammation and fever cause the heart to beat faster, in which case it needs more oxygen. Then, if your lungs happen to be infected by the coronavirus, they can't exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen well. This can further reduce the amount of oxygen going to your heart, thus leading to heart damage.
Also, in some situations, the coronavirus directly infects the heart. As a result, people who previously didn't have heart disease could suddenly experience disturbances in their heart rhythms.
These individuals could also suffer damage to the heart muscle, and the heart may not be able to pump blood efficiently. This scenario can be life threatening.
Still, individuals with preexisting heart disease are at a far greater risk for developing heart issues after contracting COVID-19.
The Inflammation Connection
Let's take a deeper look into how inflammation can impact people who contract COVID-19.
Inflammation is actually an essential defence response that takes place when a person has an infection. However, this response causes inflammatory proteins called cytokines to be released. It also enlists the help of white blood cells to fight the infection in your body.
Unfortunately, the cytokines' and white blood cells' efforts end up disrupting your body's normal operation in the process.
The cytokines will ultimately reach the fatty deposits in the walls of your blood vessels. There, they can increase the inflammatory response there.
The result? A heart attack is triggered.
Cytokines can also cause your liver to produce more essential proteins for defending your body against infection. However, these proteins increase your chances of developing blood clots. At the same time, they reduce the secretion of substances that naturally dissolve clots.
If you form tiny blood clots, they can clog your heart's, kidney's, and other organs' small blood vessels. This deprives these vital organs of the nutrients and oxygen they need. And as a result, multiple systems in your body could start to fail.
This entire process is called cytokine storm. And unfortunately, it can cause organ damage, cellular demise, and tissue injury in a COVID-19 patient. This is especially the case for those with preexisting heart disease.
How to Reduce Risk of COVID-19
Yes, COVID-19 poses a major threat to individuals with heart disease. However, several hygiene measures can reduce your chances of contracting the coronavirus. It's critical that you implement these measures into your daily life.
For instance, be sure to wash your hands regularly with water and soap. Also, use sanitiser frequently, especially when you are out in public.
In addition, be sure to disinfect and clean any surfaces that you frequently touch each day. These surfaces may include sinks, faucets, toilets, keyboards, and phones. They also include desks, handles, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and tables.
Also, try to avoid gatherings featuring over 10 individuals.
For instance, avoid going to a college or school setting. In addition, try to avoid socialising with loved ones who don't reside in your home. Avoid going to parties and restaurants as well.
If you do have to go out in public, make sure that you stay six feet away from other people. Also, consider wearing a face mask, which will help to protect you from breathing in or spreading the virus.
When it comes to children, try not to take them out in public places as much as possible. They are more likely to have mild symptoms if they get the coronavirus. However, they could spread the virus to immunocompromised individuals rather easily.
If your local community does end up developing a coronavirus outbreak, be sure to stay at home. You'll reduce your likelihood of COVID-19 exposure in this way.
Also, let's say that someone at your house is stick. Have them stay away from everyone else in the home. This will decrease the likelihood of the virus's spread throughout your household.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also avoid sharing any personal items in your home, like towels and cups. Again, the goal is to prevent the spread of the virus.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself During the Pandemic
If you have heart disease during the pandemic, be sure to speak with your medical provider, pharmacist, and insurer.
These parties may be able to get you 30 days' worth (or more) of the prescription medications that you currently use. This will prevent you from having to go out to get these items over the next month or more, thus reducing your exposure to the virus.
Also, if you're using oxygen or other lung support equipment, be sure that you understand how to utilise this equipment independently.
During the coronavirus pandemic, make sure that you take your medications as prescribed as well.
Other tips for navigating the pandemic include stocking up on household supplies designed to keep your household safe. These include nutritious foods as well as regular medications and even thermometers.
You might also want to establish how you will keep in touch regularly with friends and family. For instance, you could use FaceTime or Skype to communicate with others, rather than seeing them in person.
How We Can Help the Immunocompromised During COVID-10 Outbreak
We provide a number of hygiene products designed to help the immunocompromised, including a newly launched instant hand sanitiser.
Our hand sanitiser, which is Australian made, can easily be purchased in Australia in either gel form or spray form. The advantage of our sanitiser is that it contains 70% ethanol and kills 99.9% of bacteria.
Our sanitiser also offers the benefit being vitamin enriched, featuring pro-vitamins E and B5. However, the gentle formula is not only nourishing but also fast drying.
The result? The sanitiser will quickly leave your hands feeling rejuvenated and moisturised. It will also kill germs right away.
Note that our alcohol-based sanitiser is an excellent option for a variety of settings. These include homes, public transport, airports, shops, offices, and hospitality businesses.
As a whole, we at Fevermates are committed to fair pricing. We are also passionate about making a basic standard of healthy living available to every Australian.
Get in touch with us to learn more about our hand sanitiser products and start using them to protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.