What people living with heart conditions should know about Covid-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways.

Person washing their hands

Heart Foundation Medical Director Gerry Devlin says people living with heart conditions should be vigilant and follow the Ministry of Health's advice as the threat of coronavirus increases.

"We are still learning about how coronavirus affects people with medical conditions, but research suggests that individuals with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease appear to be more vulnerable and at higher risk of complications caused by the virus.

"Symptoms of coronavirus include coughing, high temperature (fever) and shortness of breath. Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

"The Ministry's current advice for people with these symptoms is to call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or call your doctor immediately.

"People living with a heart condition can reduce their chance of contracting coronavirus by following the Ministry of Health’s advice and all current advice on government websites."

Coronavirus and heart medications

Heart Foundation Medical Director Gerry Devlin strongly advises people living with heart conditions to continue taking all their medications unless otherwise advised by their doctor.

"There has been some speculation concerning the safety of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-i) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. There is no clinical evidence or scientific basis to support the speculation.

"ACE-i and ARBs are common medications used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure and people who have suffered a heart attack.

"Stopping your medication for high blood pressure and heart conditions could be dangerous and it's important people continue taking medications as prescribed by your doctor," says Gerry.