Questions surrounding Corona answered for Cardiac patients
High blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are so widespread that everyone reading these words likely knows somebody with at least one of these. They are also the “fundamental conditions” most associated with severe cases of COVID-19, based on early clinical profiles on the disease. Even though 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild, these reports reveal that the novel corona virus can endanger people other than the elderly and unwell.
People with heart and circulatory conditions should be extra vigilant as the threat of corona virus increases. A heart attack can be easily dismissed, but you shouldn't leave any uncertain feelings go unchecked. Which symptoms could be mistaken for a sign of corona virus during this global pandemic? Shortness of breath is one symptom of a heart attack, but shortness of breath can also be a symptom of an infection with COVID-19. How can you tell the difference? Despite the consequences of which condition you may have, shortness of breath isn't to be ignored. During a heart attack, people may experience chest pain or discomfort that suddenly occurs and doesn't go away.
Patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) are especially vulnerable to respiratory infections, although uncertainty remains on just what damage COVID-19, caused by the corona virus, can do in these patients. Symptoms of corona virus include high temperature, a new continuous cough and can progress to shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms you should stay at home for seven days.
Dr Sourabh, Cardiac surgeon in Kota says, 'We’re still learning how COVID-19 affects people with existing medical conditions. However, information to date suggests that people with heart and circulatory diseases appear to be at higher risk of complications caused by the virus. This includes people with cerebrovascular disease, which involves problems with the blood supply to the brain, such as stroke.’
Here are some questions discussed by the medical team and experts:
How are heart conditions linked to corona virus?
Breathe in and out rapidly, and your pulse automatically increases its pace. The heart and lungs are incredibly interconnected. But if your heart is already weak or you have blocked arteries, then you are working harder than a normal person to circulate blood and oxygen throughout your body.
Are alcohol-based antibacterial gels useful?
Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds the right way is the most effective. However if you are travelling and can’t wash your hands use a alcohol-based sanitiser, whether they say “antibacterial” on them or not, it is the best way to prevent Covid-19. They also have the other advantage of helping to stop you pick up other infections that could weaken your immune system and so make you more susceptible to Covid-19.
What is the best way to strengthen the immune system?
Our Heart specialist in Kota shares this answer: Take the normal approach to healthy living. Have a balanced diet, try to get as much sleep as you can, exercise, don’t overwork. If you smoke, try to give up and reduce your intake of alcohol and other drugs. Check out the blog on how to boost your immune system to fight corona virus (link it to second blog).
How long does the disease survive in the air and on surfaces?
Disinfectants such as ethanol, hydrogen peroxide and sodium hypochlorite work really well and will get rid of the virus. Regardless of how long they persist on household surfaces, as long as we keep those surfaces clean we will control the virus. The corona virus can persist in the air for a few hours and on some surfaces for quite lengthy periods, on cardboard for a day, on plastic two or three days.
What underlying conditions pose the biggest risk if you contract the virus?
Certainly, people with these conditions or older people should keep taking their usual prescribed medicines, be extra vigilant, including in hand washing, and should consider what is called social distancing, which means avoiding crowds or in some cases visitors.
What kind of immunity will a person have once they have been infected?
Other viruses such as Mers and Sars have shown you get some immunity once you have been infected. Just how much or how long it will last we do not know. We have seen no good data to suggest a person can get Covid-19 twice, however with time research will come forward.
When it comes to matters of the heart, many people may also be at risk from underlying conditions they don’t even know they have. Given we are in the midst of flu season and the corona virus crisis, Dr Sourabh recommends that cardiac patients and diabetics make sure that they have enough of their regular medications, and that everyone checks that their blood pressure is under control.