A ‘Heart to Heart’ with COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus exerts an unprecedented global impact socially and economically, bringing unique challenges to the healthcare sector. As per the World Health organisation, the virus has lead to approximately 1 million deaths with over 37 million confirmed cases worldwide. However, it poses a particular risk to those with underlying medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and Hypertension.

Cardiovascular illnesses vulnerable to COVID-19

At the recent Webinar session – ‘Better Health: A Healthy Heart’ brought to you by Healthnet and English Nursing Sri Lanka: Consultant cardiologist Dr Bhathiya Ranasinghe outlines; “Individuals with pre-existing heart disease who become ill with COVID-19 are at a higher risk of suffering a heart attack or develop congestive heart failure. The combination of the severe viral illness and its increased strain on the heart, as fever causes rapid heart rate, followed by low oxygen levels increases chances for blood clot formation.”

Dr Ranasinghe also discusses the diagnosis of a more unusual condition called Myocarditis in COVID-19 patients, “Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle. This can affect the heart muscle and its electrical system, reducing the heart’s ability to pump blood and causes rapid or abnormal heart rhythms.”

The WHO records cardiovascular illnesses as the global leading cause of death. 10% of patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease who contract COVID-19 – high blood pressure (hypertension) and coronary artery disease (CAD) – have lower mortality rates, compared to only 1% of patients who are otherwise healthy.  In 2018, 22. 64% of deaths in Sri Lanka were due to heart diseases, reiterating the fact that those with heart disease are subject to fatal complications if infected with COVID-19 and appropriate care is essential.

Care for your heart to prevent infection

A good exercise routine, even for elders, can strengthen heart muscles and improve the function of lungs. Taking multiple short walks during the day along with stretches and Yoga act as effective preventive measures.

Simultaneously, eating a healthy diet is very important. Eating and drinking appropriately can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections as it plays a critical role to building a good immune system. Staying hydrated, including plenty of fruits and vegetables in one’s diet, reducing the intake of saturated fats and sugar are some factors. The intake of alcohol and tobacco have severe repercussions to the body as well, limitation plays a crucial role in protecting the heart from COVID-19.

The connection between your mind and heart

An individual’s health is a combination of physical and mental well-being. Indulging in relaxing activities, such as reading or listening to music help reduce stress and exhaustion. Keeping in contact with your loved ones, via video conferencing or text is important to limit anxiety and fear during these difficult times. Remember, interaction and communication encourages a positive mind-set during uncertainty.

This World Heart Day the World Heart Federation added strengthening the heart through the presence of compassion and kindness. ‘Use Heart’ to build a community that unites against COVID-19. To understand that a gentle gesture and an act of goodwill for those around us could go a long way.

Nevertheless, sanitize, wear a mask and refrain from leaving your home if it is not a necessity. Purchase essential medication via Healthnet – Your pharma assistant, who is offering senior citizens, the most venerable during Covid-19 times, a 10% discount on their total prescription bill for life! Best of all is that they deliver your medication to your doorstep. You can download the Healthnet app, order and stock up your medication with just one click or visit their website www.healthnet.lk or call +94 112 795 795.

For elders living alone, ensure that plans are made if an emergency arise. To ease your mind contact English Nursing Sri Lanka – an expert and reliable home nursing service which pledges to take care of your loved ones in the comfort of their home. Visit their website www.englishnursing.com or call +94 11 4500117.