According to a post on the Cardiology Associates of Michigan website, heart patients must be especially vigilant to protect themselves against the coronavirus/COVID-19. Even though it is an upper respiratory infection, individuals with heart disease may be especially vulnerable.

Those over the age of 60 and people who have pre-existing health conditions are at a higher risk for developing complications due to COVID-19. If they have weakened immune systems, it may be more difficult to fight off the virus.

Heart patients must be especially cautious during this global pandemic because coronavirus targets the lungs, forcing the heart to work harder to get oxygen to the rest of the body.

As noted in Cardiology Associates of Michigan’s post, COVID-19 can also destabilize fatty buildups in arteries, leading to blockages in arteries. An additional factor is that heart patients may have weaker immune systems.

According to the American Heart Association, approximately 40 percent of the COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized earlier on in the course of this pandemic had cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease. The percentage of people with heart disease also increases with age, exacerbating the potential for danger among seniors.

The virus is believed to be spread mainly from person to person, specifically between people who are within 6 feet of each other and through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

In an effort to slow the spreading of the illness, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a state-at-home order, effective March 24 through April 13. Only essential services will be allowed to continue during these weeks.

Even when you are at home, remember to wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. You also should practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from others.

If you experience a medical emergency, call 911 for assistance. If you believe you may have the coronavirus, call your doctor for further instructions.