Our medical experts explain what we know so far about the Covid-19 coronavirus and how it can affect people with heart disease.
We know that this is a frightening time for lots of people, especially if you have an existing health problem. Most people with coronavirus (Covid-19) have mild symptoms and make a full recovery. Having a heart and circulatory situation probably doesn’t make you any more likely to catch coronavirus than anyone else.
Some heart patients are considered at extremely high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You are classed as extremely vulnerable (most at risk) if:
- You have had a transplant at any time, including a heart transplant.
- you are pregnant and have significant heart disease – defined by experts as any of the following: coronary heart disease (if you have symptoms), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (if it affects your heart function), thickening of the heart muscle (left ventricular hypertrophy) caused by high blood pressure, pulmonary arterial hypertension, a narrowed or leaking heart valve if this is moderate or severe, heart failure that affects your left ventricular function, significant congenital heart disease.
If you don’t fall into one of the groups above, having a heart situation or any of these issues means you are at high risk – again, you should stay at home, apart from essential needs:
- Lung disease, including asthma
- Chronic kidney disease
- Coronary heart disease, such as a past heart attack, stent, or bypass surgery (at any time)
- Over 70 years old
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Vascular dementia or small vessel disease in the brain
- Body mass index of 40 or over (severely obese)
- Smoking – because the act of smoking (putting your hand to your mouth) increases risk of catching it, and because it damages your lung health. If you smoke, stop today.
Everyone needs to work hard not to catch or spread Covid-19 coronavirus. This applies whoever you are, so that you stay healthy and don’t pass it on to vulnerable people. And it applies especially if you’re in a high or very high risk group, such as the situations listed above.
- Stay at home
- You can only go out to buy food, for any medical need, for exercise once a day, and for work if this absolutely cannot be done from home
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, including when you return home – do this for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze