Cardiovascular Disease and COVID-19
Last updated: January 31, 2022
If you have cardiovascular disease, you have a higher risk of developing more serious illness from COVID-19.
Your physician can review your medical record to help you understand your personal risk. More information about cardiovascular disease and COVID-19 is available from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
Listen to a radio interview with two leading Northwestern Medicine cardiologists discussing how COVID-19 affects people with heart disease.
Here are answers to some common questions you may have. This information might change as we learn more about COVID-19. If you have other questions, talk to your physician.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Am I more likely to get COVID-19 because I have cardiovascular disease?
- Should I keep taking daily medication to manage my cardiovascular disease?
- If I think I’m having a heart attack or complications from heart failure, should I still go to the emergency department right away?
- What can I do to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- What should I do if I have cardiovascular disease and symptoms of COVID-19?
- If I have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, what should I do?
If you have cardiovascular disease, you are not more likely to get COVID-19. However, you are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19.
People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease and heart failure are at particularly high risk for complications if they get COVID-19. If you are in any of these categories and are an older adult, you are at even higher risk for serious symptoms, hospitalization, or death due to COVID-19.
The virus causes intense infection and inflammation in the body. This can place more stress on the cardiovascular system, including the heart. You should protect yourself by getting vaccinated, and wearing a mask and physically distancing from others when necessary. Refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for prevention advice.
You should continue taking your cardiac medications. Current data suggests that it is safe for you to continue taking angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).
If you have a question about your medications, please call your physician or send your care team a question through the MyNM patient portal. You can access MyNM at mynm.nm.org or through the MyNM® app on a mobile device.
Do not make changes to your medication without talking to your care team first.
Yes. These are urgent, life-threatening conditions that need immediate medical attention. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Northwestern Medicine follows all safety guidelines to minimize the risk of getting COVID-19 at the hospital. Read more about safety at Northwestern Medicine.
If you are not sure what kind of care you need, you can use our Symptom Checker for guidance. If your condition is not serious, you may be able to get care at home through a virtual visit.
Everyone should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to help prevent COVID-19 exposure and infection. We urge you to:
- Get vaccinated.
- Wear a mask.
- Physically distance.
- Eat well.
- Reduce stress.
- Get plenty of sleep.
Keep at least a two-week supply of your medications. If you need a refill, call your physician or send a request through MyNM. While refilling your prescription, you can limit exposure to COVID-19 by using a mail-order service or drive-thru pharmacy. Or, have a caregiver pick up your medication.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, you should be tested for COVID-19. Learn about your testing options in the COVID-19 Resource Center at nm.org/covid19.
The answer depends on many factors. Follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).