One of the most frequently asked question by my patients with heart disease is whether they have more chances of being infected by COVID-19? For their information, I want to share that the chance of getting COVID-19 for any individual is same whether they are healthy or diseased.
However, individual with underlying heart problems are likely to show prominent symptoms of infection or may have more severe infection than others. Most of the COVID-19 infected patients show mild flu like symptoms or may be asymptomatic.
Only 5-10% show pneumonia or chest infection. In that case the virus cause direct damage to the lungs and also triggers an inflammatory response which cause stress to the cardiovascular system in two different ways.
Firstly, due to damage to lungs, the level of blood oxygen drops.
Secondly, the inflammatory effects of the virus itself causes fall in blood pressure for which heart has to beat faster to maintain adequate blood circulation in the body. In both the ways the diseased heart endures more and more damage.
Furthermore, COVID-19 can cause direct myocardial injury in around 15 to 18% of infected patients. So, it is my request to my patients to protect themselves from contracting the COVID-19 by using masks, sanitizers and maintaining social distancing and if possible avoid going outdoors.