My cousin lives in New York City. He moved there right after college and has never wanted to live anywhere else since. He loves the city, the pace of life there, the people and the cultural opportunities.
Yet when I talked to him on the phone yesterday, there was only sadness in his voice.
The city he loves so much is shut down, unrecognizable, and several people he knows are sick — and one even passed away.
Hearing his stories and his worries breaks my heart! Not to mention we share the same cardiovascular family history. Experts are saying that New York is the proving ground for the worst of coronavirus.
But we are all facing COVID-19. No matter where you live, it’s in your backyard.
In addition to instruction on how to cut down on spread, experts keep warning us about the role of underlying health conditions in how this pandemic can play out for many of us.
While it’s true that age does partially determine the level of risk when it comes to coronavirus, the health of your heart and blood vessels also plays an important role.
High cholesterol, blood pressure and other coronavirus dangers
In fact, they say that a 75-year-old in good health has a far better chance of surviving coronavirus than a 60-year-old dealing with chronic health problems.
Heart disease is a major risk factor. It includes:
- A history of heart attack
- Heart failure
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Peripheral artery disease
- High blood pressure
Yet, it also encompasses conditions that raise your risk of heart and blood vessel disease, like:
- High cholesterol
In other words, if it could or has caused damage to your heart, it’s a weakness that coronavirus can exploit.
As Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention at the American Heart Association, puts it, “All of these constitute folks who need to be more vigilant and exercise a bit more care.”
Caring for your heart
So, what does being vigilant and exercising more care look like?
For starters, it means no slacking on any of the recommendations the CDC has provided on how to mitigate your risk by defending against infection.
These precautions include washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face, leaving your shoes at the door to avoid droplet transmission and disinfecting things you touch often.
But if you have an underlying condition, supporting your heart is going to be especially important. That’s because doctors conclude this virus launches an attack on the lungs. That in turn puts more pressure on the heart to keep pumping oxygen-rich blood through the entire body.
In all my years of research, I’ve learned about a handful of heart-healthy nutrients I won’t go without. These include:
• Vitamin K2 — This nutrient has been shown to help support arterial health and healthy blood flow. However, it’s a specific form of Vitamin K2 — called MK-7 — that’s most notable for its benefits.
• Nitric oxide — In 1998, three scientists won a Nobel Prize for discoveries surrounding nitric oxide (N-O), a molecule that’s naturally produced in the endothelium — the lining of the arteries. Nitric Oxide signals arteries to open to receive blood flow and then relax again — which helps maintain healthy circulation and blood pressure levels within a normal range.
Research shows that by age 70, Nitric Oxide production declines by up to 75 percent. Optimal amounts of L-Arginine help the body make N-O on demand to help support arterial health… support the health of the endothelium… and promote healthy N-O levels.
• Nattokinase — An enzyme found in a Japanese food called natto made from fermented soybeans, nattokinase helps safely support blood flow. To date, over 17 scientific studies — including human trials — performed in Japan as well as in the U.S. — show nattokinase effective for promoting circulatory health.
• CoQ10 — This amazing “spark plug” molecule creates life and energy in each of our cells. More than 300 studies have demonstrated the cardiovascular health benefits of CoQ10, including its ability to support cellular health, help maintain blood pressure levels within a normal range, support memory and help support against free radicals.
CoQ10 promotes cellular energy — including in the heart cells. Unfortunately, CoQ10 production starts dropping about age 20 — and by age 60, levels have dropped considerably enough to require supplementation.
I like to think I eat a well-rounded diet and get most of my nutrients that way. But some nutrients, especially now, are just too vital to take a gamble on. I don’t like to guess whether I’m getting enough of what I need to keep my heart healthy.
So, I make sure I am by getting all four of those heart-boosting helpers.
Remember, your heart plays an important role in your risk of serious complications from COVID-19. So, with coronavirus sweeping across our country, it’s vital to do everything you can to mitigate that risk by supporting your heart to give your body a fighting chance.