COVID-19 May Damage Healthy Hearts

Despite widespread stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19, many people under the age of 65 without any underlying health conditions may believe that if they do become sick, they will be able to fight off the virus without any lasting damage.   But, according to a recent study, published in the JAMA Cardiology, even people with no heart problems could suffer heart damage from the new coronavirus that may be fatal. 

As reported in Everyday Health, a study out of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, found that the heart muscle can be affected by the body’s immune response to the virus causing acute inflammation of the heart.  Inflammation of the heart can weaken the muscle, cause an irregular heartbeat and lead to heart failure.  

Although there is a lesser risk for serious complications from contracting COVID-19 among younger, healthier people, there still cause to use caution and follow guidelines for social isolation.  Only go out when absolutely necessary, wash hands frequently, keep at least 6 feet away from people who do not live with you and wear a cloth mask if you must venture out for groceries or other essentials.  No contact delivery services for medications and food are available in many communities. 

Adults with underlying cardiovascular conditions should also make sure they are up-to-date on all vaccines including the pneumococcal vaccine and the influenza vaccine, according to the American College of Cardiology.   Telehealth visits with a doctor may be advised in areas with active outbreaks for routine healthcare.  

In addition to following social distancing recommendations, people who have heart conditions should make sure they have at least a month’s supply of medications and take care to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, manage stress, stop smoking and get plenty of sleep.  All high-touch surfaces like door handles, countertops, remote controls and phones should be sanitized at least once a day and if someone in the household becomes sick, they should be isolated in a separate room away from other family members.  

Learn more about staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic along with many other resources for heart and stroke patients by following this link to the American Heart Association website.