How does the Coronavirus impact those with Cardiovascular Disease?

COVID-19 has the world watching very closely and leaving many with very real concerns. Having Cardiovascular Disease does not make you more likely to contract the virus, however it does put you at a greater risk for complications should you get it.

Here are some of the reasons why those with CVD should exercise a little more caution.
1) Some have a weakened immune system, making it more challenging for them to fight the virus.

2) Those with Heart Failure, have a weaker heart pump. With the virus impacting the lungs, it makes the heart have to work harder. This added strain to the heart could cause an increase in heart failure symptoms.

3) For those with atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries), there is an increased risk of the plaque in the arteries becoming less stable. Also due to the severe inflammatory response to the virus as well, the risk of a heart attack or stroke is increased.

4) Those with cardiovascular disease, as well as underlying concerns such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, COPD, and kidney disease are at further risk of having complications.

5) Heart Arrhythmia’s are also a concern again due to the inflammatory response impacting the hearts electrical system.

So what to do:
1) Washing your hands frequently for a minimum of 20 secs with warm soapy water is your best defense. Especially before eating. Using alcohol rubs are also an option.

2) Stay home! Although this is a challenge, it really is in your best interest to just stay put in your house. Exposing yourself to the public can come at a high cost and it’s not worth it. Many of the common errand/activities we do involve coming in contact with something that the rest of the public may have also been in contact with. For example, the gas pump, the shopping cart, the door handle of a store, money, items on a store shelf, and now that you’ve touched all those things.. your own car door and steering wheel. Have someone else run to the store for groceries or do other errands for you. Keep your grandchildren away, don’t have visitors over.. even if its family.

2) Refrain from touching your face, eyes, nose & mouth with your fingers.

3) BOOST your immune system with healthy lifestyle habits.

  • Don’t drink alcohol – try decaffeinated green tea!
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat heart healthy!
    • Eat high fiber foods including a variety of vegetables & fruit
    • Limit sugar, salt and saturated fat.
    • Get in those good fats like fish, almonds, & avocados
    • Limit red meat. If you eat meat, lean towards chicken, fish or turkey vs beef or pork.
  • Drink water
  • Take a multivitamin
    • Maintain your exercise routine to keep your circulatory system pumping. Your white blood cells are your fighter cells when a virus invades. However, they can be a little lazy and slow moving through your circulatory system. By getting outside for some fresh air, a walk, a bike, or even doing some of the home exercise routines here on this site, will help your white blood cells pump through your system a little quicker and be able to search and destroy any invaders.
  • Get outside for some fresh air and a mental break. Isolation doesn’t have to mean not going outside. Finding a quiet space in nature does the body good. Walking on a quiet trail, sitting under a tree, doing some yard work or gardening are all great options.

The best advice is to be measured in what you do. We will get through this. Take this time to treat your body like gold!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.

Cam & Shawna

Shawna Cook

Shawna is a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, who has been working in Cardiac Rehabilitation for over 10 years. Her years in the health and fitness field however have spanned over the past 2+ decades. As an elite level athlete she fell in love with understanding the human body, and how the choices she made, affected how it performed. This led to a degree from the University of Winnipeg in the stream of Athletic Therapy, and the passion towards helping others recover from injury and "be their best selves" grew.