Tips to Stay Heart Strong

Beyond following the guidance to protect yourself and others, people with existing heart conditions, should take additional steps to stay healthy and heart strong. These include the following: 

Keep up with heart healthy habits:

Just as you did before the current COVID-19 pandemic, focus on heart-healthy habits. Doing so will help bolster your immune system against COVID-19 and other infections. These habits will also help to slow or prevent your heart disease from getting worse.

  • Choose heart-healthy foods and snacks (plant-based and unprocessed foods are good choices)
  • Maintain a normal body weight: Having obesity increases your chance of serious illness from COVID-19
  • Exercise daily
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Get enough sleep by aiming for seven to eight hours of shut-eye a night
  • Don’t smoke or overindulge with food or alcohol
  • Follow your care plan, stay up-to-date with vaccines and call if you have questions or concerns; use telehealth options if new symptoms or concerns arise
  • Ensure you have at least one month of prescribed medication at home
  • Maintain social distancing, but don’t socially isolate yourself. Stay connected with family and friends

Continue taking your medicines as directed:

Take your medications as prescribed unless you are told otherwise by your health care professional. This includes medications for high blood pressure and heart failure medications, including ACE-inhibitors (for example, enalapril or lisinopril), ARBs (for example, losartan or valsartan) and statins.

Be sure to check with your care team before starting any new therapy, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins or supplements. Also be sure to talk with them before stopping any of your current medications. There is a lot of misinformation swirling about certain medications or vitamins and COVID-19. 

If you have questions, take advantage of telemedicine if your health professional offers it.

How enough food, medications and supplies on hand, and ask about delivery:

Try to keep at least two weeks of groceries and other essential supplies in your home during this time.

It’s also a good idea to ask your health care team, including your pharmacist, if you can get a one- to three-month supply of medications.

Use delivery services or ask about community programs that are helping older people and those at greater risk of illness.  

Manage stress, Stay connected:

Minding your mental health during COVID-19 is important. Be sure to keep tabs on how you are feeling and share your concerns with your care team.

Also, remember that social distancing to slow the spread of the virus doesn’t mean you should distance yourself emotionally, socially or spiritually. In fact, we are learning that there can be real psychological effects of being away from friends, family and colleagues, including feeling tired, irritable, anxious and depressed. It’s important to stay safely connected to people who matter to you.

In addition, try to find time for calm, maintain your routine and sleep at normal times.

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