Knowing more about heart disease and its threats in the middle of a pandemic becomes very important. Hence, through the CoLearn Online webinar with the title, “Treating Heart Disease at Home”, CoHie held an interesting discussion with Dr. Wishnu Aditya Widodo, SpJP, FIHA, as Interventional Cardiologist from Jakarta Heart Center Hospital. This dialogue was moderated by Andrea Sudirman (Event & Community Lead of CoHive).
Heart disease has become the cause of millions of lives lost every year. According to Dr. Wishnu, until now the number of deaths caused by heart disease is still far more than Covid-19. Other than that, access to hospitals has become increasingly restrictive. The hospital tightened the identification of each patient and prioritized the patients of Covid-19 first. Although such treatment was taken to protect patients with other diseases from the virus, it may delay the heart disease patients to receive proper care. Furthermore, Dr. Wishnu strongly recommends postponing any medical examinations at the hospital while continuing to take the prescribed medications.
Moreover, these are more important issues that need to be addressed for those with pre-existing heart disease.
- Overlapped symptoms
Both heart disease and Covid-19 have the same symptoms that made them hard to diagnose. People with heart disease are characterized by chest pain, shortness of breath, profuse sweating, and severe respiratory distress. These four symptoms are also shown by people with the Covid-19 virus, which begins with increased body temperature or more known as fever.
- The damage caused by Covid-19
The damage caused by Covid-19 is very dangerous for the health of the heart. It causes a plaque to clog and create damage to the heart muscle (myocardial damage). The damage then causes inflammation in the organ which may trigger a heart attack. Heart disease has already worsened the condition of the heart, but with the combination of Covid-19, it makes the heart in the worst position and potentially leads the patient to death.
- The drug complications
Currently, no vaccine or medication can cure Covid-19 infection. Even so, several drugs are consumed to improve the condition of Covid-19 patients. Unfortunately, these drugs are considered dangerous for people with heart disease, as it can trigger disturbances in heart rhythm (arrhythmia), heart attacks, bleeding, and electrolyte imbalance, a condition when there is an abnormality in the concentration of electrolytes in the body.
In this case, dr. Wishnu stressed that what can be done to avoid these conditions are by avoiding yourself from getting infected by the Covid-19 virus. However if you already have pre-existing heart disease, it is advisable to continue to communicate with your doctor about the heart’s condition and keep taking the prescribed medications. Furthermore, improving lifestyle and following the government’s guidelines are also very important to do, such as washing your hands frequently, reducing outdoor activities, and always wearing a face-mask. Starting good habits such as stopping smoking and alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, and eating nutritious foods are also highly recommended for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and boosting your immunity system.
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