A new warning for heart patients as COVID-19 continues to spread

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has published a statement warning patients with certain medical conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, to be “extra vigilant” as the new coronavirus continues to spread.

“We’re still learning how COVID-19 affects people with existing medical conditions,” according to the statement. “However, information to date suggests that people with heart and circulatory diseases appear to be at higher risk of complications caused by the virus.”

The BHF also emphasized that, despite various rumors making the rounds online, cardiovascular patients should continue to take their medications as prescribed until advised otherwise by a healthcare provider. There has been some fear in recent weeks over the possibility that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) could increase a patient’s risk of COVID-19—a sentiment the BHF wanted to combat.

“What is clear, is that stopping your medication could be very dangerous and could make your condition worse,” according to the statement. “These drugs are very effective for heart failure, and to control high blood pressure to help prevent a heart attack or stroke. It’s really important that you continue to take them as prescribed, unless advised differently by your doctor.” 

In addition, the BHF shared some general advise related to COVID-19, noting that anyone experiencing symptoms such as a high temperature or a “new continuous cough” stay at home for at least seven days. If symptoms get worse during that time, the group added, it is time to seek help from healthcare professionals.