Tips for Maintaining Your Heart Health Through COVID
It’s no secret that the pandemic has disrupted daily life. In fact, with all the added stress, it may seem hard to keep up with regular screenings and checkups. As we learn more about the virus, we are also learning about how COVID-19 affects the heart.
That’s why, especially now, it’s important to focus on your heart health. Here are facts and tips to stay heart healthy even during the pandemic.
COVID-19 AND HEART HEALTH FACTS
COVID-19 can affect your heart in many ways. Your heart and lungs work together to give your body the right level of oxygen. When your lungs are affected by a respiratory illness, like COVID-19, it can cause more stress on your heart. That’s one of the reasons why people with heart disease are at high risk of severe symptoms and complications caused by COVID-19.
According to Beaumont cardiologist Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan, coronavirus can cause an increase in heart attack risk, inflammation of the heart muscle and blood clots in the lungs. In some cases, heart injuries caused by COVID-19 can leave permanent damage. Learn more about how the virus can affect your heart.
KNOW THE RISKS
The first step to improve or prevent heart health is knowing the risks of developing heart disease.
“Heart disease is a result of many factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, inflammatory conditions, depression and high cholesterol,” explains Dr. Chinnaiyan.“These conditions increase the risk for heart attack and future problems, mainly as we age and in women after menopause.”
TAKE SYMPTOMS SERIOUSLY
Your heart is always talking to you through emotional and physical signals. Use regular screenings and checkups to talk about how you’re feeling or schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice any new symptoms. Go to your closest emergency center or call 911 if you have symptoms like chest pain, pressure, shortness of breath or swelling in the legs.
If you get COVID-19 and have high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or blockages, you may get much sicker than someone who doesn’t. Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated and stay updated about Beaumont’s vaccine information.
IF YOU’VE HAD COVID-19
Tell your doctor if you’ve had COVID-19 and if your case was serious. Even if you’ve recovered from the virus, remember to get the green light from your doctor before returning to normal activities, like working out.
Depending on your situation, your doctor may need more tests like an EKG or MRI to examine your heart thoroughly. With the results, your doctor can develop a recovery plan that’s right for you.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Help your heart perform at its best by living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining self-care. Eat healthy, stay active, and try to minimize stress.
“It’s all about maintaining a broad perspective, especially as the pandemic continues,” says Dr. Chinnaiyan. “Practice meditation for self-reflection. Embrace meaningful relationships for support. Have a sense of humor. Laughter eases tension and helps you relax to get the rest and sleep you need.”