Common health conditions that may increase risk of death from the coronavirus, including heart disease ……

Anna Medaris Miller, Holly Secon and Canela López Mar 24, 2020, 3:51 AM

Case studies on patients who have contracted the new coronavirus have found that older patients and people with preexisting health conditions more commonly develop severe symptoms.

According to a report on patient characteristics from Italy's National Institute of Health released on March 17, 99% of COVID-19 patients who have died in the country had at least one preexisting condition.

Different preexisting conditions — including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease — were found at varying rates among the patients who have died.

In Italy, 76.1% of patients who died from COVID-19 had hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Nearly half of all Americans have some level of high blood pressure, meaning they may be more susceptible to some of the more dangerous effects of the coronavirus.

While experts aren't confident about why people with poor cardiovascular health are at a higher risk of dying from the virus, doctors believe that the strain COVID-19 puts on the lungs may burden the heart as well.

People with heart issues may also have weaker immune systems, and the virus could have a negative effect on those with plaque in their arteries, according to the American Heart Association.

One-third of COVID-19 patients who died in Italy had heart disease.

Any kind of cardiovascular condition can leave a patient more susceptible to severe disease from the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association urge patients with any heart condition to take precautions similar to all Americans: Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, disinfect high-touch surfaces, stay home if and when possible, and keep up to date on vaccinations, including one for the flu.

About one-quarter of people who died from the coronavirus in Italy had atrial fibrillation.

At least 2.7 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation. It's "a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications," according to AHA.

Source: that-make-coronavirus-more-deadly-2020-3