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How does COVID-19 impact the heart

Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 9:16 AM EDT
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(06/11/2020) -- As the number of daily deaths from COVID-19 decline, there is an increase in the number of studies researching this novel virus. One of those studies is looking at patients in Wuhan, China and is analyzing the effects of COVID-19 on the heart.

Lung and respiratory problems may not be the only concerns doctors have for patients who get coronavirus.

“If there was evidence for injury to the heart, then the mortality rate was approximately 50 percent,” said Scott Greenwood, MD, FACC, a cardiologist at Grace Medical Home.

But the death rate was lower than five percent for those who didn’t have cardiac injury. So, what can people do to protect their heart, even with pre-existing conditions?

“Exercise is a good way to help your heart and also to lower stress,” Dr. Greenwood continued.

Stress is a risk factor for heart disease and can increase the likelihood for a heart attack. Also, recent reports have claimed certain blood pressure medications such as ace-inhibitors might influence the virus’ replication.

“You should not stop taking those medications unless directed so by your physician,” Dr. Greenwood warns.

It is very dangerous to stop taking life-saving medications for patients with high blood pressure or heart disease. And call your doctor immediately if you notice a new symptom or a change in frequency of symptoms.

Dr. Greenwood also recommends that those who have high blood pressure avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs because those can raise your blood pressure, putting you at a greater risk for heart disease. He says just take Tylenol instead.

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