Early research on this novel coronavirus suggested that some people are at a higher risk of health complications if infected with the virus. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this includes people with the following chronic health conditions:
1. Heart Disease
People with heart disease tend to also have: elevated cholesterol, diabetes, lung disease, and high blood pressure. These diseases weekend the body’s immune system, which makes it harder to fight a viral infection.
“The fever associated with COVID-19 puts additional strain on the body’s metabolic demands, stressing out the already weakened heart,” explains Dr. William Li., physician scientist and author of Eat To Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself, “Pneumonia, which is commonly seen with COVID-19, makes it harder for the lungs to oxygenate the blood. This puts further stress on the heart.” Dr. Li suggests regular exercise (while social distancing) and eating healthy to keep your heart strong.
The American College of Cardiology issued a bulletin that suggests that fatality rates for people with cardiovascular disease are 10.5% higher than the average population. It recommends that patients with heart disease stay current on vaccines and get a flu shot.
According to the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) when people who have diabetes are infected with a virus, it can be harder to treat due to the fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Viruses can thrive in an environment of elevated blood glucose. Diabetes causes the immune system to be compromised, which also makes it harder to fight the virus.
People with diabetes have higher levels of inflammation in their bodies. “If you have a viral infection, that can turn into pneumonia easier, because diabetes itself is an inflammatory disease,” Maria Pena, MD, director of endocrine services at Mount Sinai Doctors Forest Hill.
The International Diabetes Foundation suggests monitoring blood glucose levels to be a high priority because ANY infection can raise blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, make sure you have stocked up on medication, testing supplies, water, and food for at least a month.
3. Chronic Respiratory Disease
Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRDs), include asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea, and occupational lung disease. People with these conditions need to be extra cautious as pneumonia is a possible complication of coronavirus. Pneumonia compromises the lungs, people who already suffer from respiratory disease, this can be fatal.
It is recommended to have a 30-day medicine supply, and if you require an oxygen supply, contact your doctor to make sure you have enough to last a month.
4. Mental Health
This virus not only affects people who have the virus, but it can also be damaging to people with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression even if you are not infected with the virus.
“Fear of the virus and all the changes it’s causing are driving anxiety levels up for everyone, but for people who have an anxiety disorder it’s so much worse,” states Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at the NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of medicine.
People with anxiety or depression who are at home either because they lost their job, or are caring for someone who has COVID-19 might see their mental health decline. Social distancing, quarantining and losing the structure of work and school and increase these feelings.
People should take 30 minutes out of their day to focus on mental health. This could be exercising, walking, meditating or whatever gets you moving.
Stick with your daily routine as you would before the quarantine. Wake up at the same time, take a shower, get ready and go to bed at your normal time.
You can video chat with family and friends to stay social and not to feel as isolated at this time.