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Patients with preexisting heart disease, including high blood pressure, are at higher risk of serious illness if they become infected with the virus. Be sure to follow recommendations for social distancing, hand washing and staying at home to minimize your risk.
Patients with heart failure and those taking immunosuppressive medications are at high risk of developing severe and/or life threatening disease in the setting of COVID-19. We are advising all of our heart failure and heart transplant patients to observe social distancing practices to avoid community exposure to coronavirus.
In addition, we are advising a thoughtful approach to interaction with the healthcare center. This means that whenever possible, visits will be conducted via telehealth. Decisions regarding whether a visit should be conducted in person or via telehealth will be made between patients and their providers. However, we also strongly encourage our patients not to delay care for other serious conditions like worsening shortness of breath or chest pain that would have caused them to seek care more urgently prior to the pandemic.
Yes, you should continue taking all of the heart medications prescribed to you by your healthcare providers. This includes any medications you are taking to lower high blood pressure as well as medications, such as statins, that you are taking to manage high cholesterol.
Yes. We advise that everyone take this time of self-isolation to get serious about healthy eating, avoiding junk foods and salty foods and drinking plenty of water. Exercise is particularly important in keeping a healthy immune system. If you have access to exercise equipment at home, use it. Otherwise, even a short walk, while keeping to safe distancing practices, will help your immune system.
Always call 911 if you think you might be experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Doing this quickly can save your life. BIDMC emergency facilities are fully staffed and available to help you 24/7 and our BIDMC urgent care facilities in Chelsea and Chestnut Hill remain open and are taking careful precautions to keep patients safe.
We don’t yet have the full picture of the effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the body. We do know that most people infected with the virus have mild flu-like symptoms, do not experience significant effects on the heart and cardiovascular system and do not require a hospital admission.
However, a small percentage of people have a more serious illness, typically characterized by severe pneumonia. A low percentage may develop damage to the heart and could require admission to the intensive care unit and specialized treatment. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with COVID-19 disease and is experiencing chest discomfort, worsening shortness of breath, confusion, or lethargy, contact your physician immediately, or contact your local emergency services by calling 911.