All age groups are being affected by COVID-19, but in general younger people are more likely to be asymptomatic or only come down with a mild case when being exposed to the virus. People over 60 are more susceptible to atrial fibrillation and COVID-19, which puts them at a higher risk compared to others. Therefore, it is important for people living with AFib to be particularly concerned about the severity of the virus, and to take extra precautions to avoid being exposed whenever possible.
People with underlying heart conditions are more susceptible to severe cases
In general, the people who need to be most concerned about developing a severe case of COVID-19 are people with existing chronic conditions. Research suggests that many types of chronic conditions put one at greater risk, including cancer, diabetes, liver disease, and high blood pressure—but the one that affects the most Americans is heart disease.
It’s important to note that there is no data to suggest that people with AFib are at a greater risk for developing a severe case of COVID-19 when compared with any other preexisting chronic condition. However, many health professionals—including those at the American Heart Association—do consider AFib to be a form of chronic heart disease. Therefore it’s recommended that AFib patients take extra care in reducing their exposure to infected people or surfaces.
AFib medications and COVID-19
One question that AFib patients may have is whether their medications have any impact on their risks associated with COVID-19, especially blood thinners that are frequently used to reduce the chance of a stroke. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the use of an anticoagulant puts you more at risk. If you are an AFib patient currently on anticoagulants and you suspect you may have a mild case of the virus, you should continue to take your anticoagulant medication as directed by your doctor.
Safeguarding your health during the pandemic
Right now, the best advice for patients with AFib is to follow the guidelines set by public health officials. Stay home as much as possible and avoid nonessential trips. Stay at least six feet away from others when you do go out. Avoid any proximity to someone who may have been exposed to the virus, even if they have no symptoms.
If you have questions about your AFib or need advice on dealing with your condition in these uncertain times, Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. is here for you. Schedule an appointment today and we can help you determine how to keep your heart as healthy as possible during and after the pandemic.