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Those living with heart disease feel impact of COVID-19 stress

The pandemic is affecting everyone in one way or another but people living with heart disease may have an extra layer of stress right now.

The pandemic is affecting everyone in one way or another but people living with heart disease may have an extra layer of stress right now.

“Not being able to hug my kids, you know, my adult children, because some of them are in health care and just the stress of not being able to see them,” said Susan Williams.

That’s a stressful situation many are finding themselves in right now but on top of that, Williams is living with heart disease.

Back in October of 2019, Williams was diagnoses with congestive heart failure, she said.

After spending 11 days in the hospital, the mother of nine and cook at Southern Local Schools began medication and eating a low sodium diet to get back on track.

But that was before the pandemic hit.

“I think that’s been the most stressful – the concern of getting it or giving it to other people,” Williams said.

10TV talked with Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Health Commissioner, about ways to manage stress and combat heart disease during such a turbulent time.

Her advice:

  1. Continue to take extra safety precautions 

“We want to make sure that we wear our face mask and we wear it properly, we want to avoid those large crowds and being around people who don’t have their masks on, who are not in our household,” she said.

  1. If you have a medical condition, continue to seek medical care as normal

“You shouldn’t ignore those normal heart appointments, not to mention, you shouldn’t ignore your medication that you’re supposed to be taking,” Dr. Roberts said.

  1. Be mindful of outdoor activity in the cold, including shoveling snow

“When you’re in the snow, your blood vessels constrict and that can be more damaging to your heart and exacerbate heart conditions you have,” she said.

  1. Get vaccinated when possible

“Most importantly, when the opportunity comes to get the vaccine, you roll up those sleeves and you get vaccinated,” Dr. Roberts said.

Another way to alleviate stress is to plan, such as preparing meals ahead of time.

Meal prepping is something Williams does each Sunday to get ahead of any added pressure during the week.

“I do breakfast, I’ll do like oats and I’ll go ahead and put my berries with my oats and that way I’ll just pop it in the microwave before work,” Williams said. “And I mostly do salads for lunch and then I try to plan my meals for dinner.”

But it isn’t just being prepared that helps Williams get by.

Williams told 10TV that she relies on family to help out, especially when she isn’t feeling well.

“My daughter does two weeks of my medications up so that’s less stress and just, if you have people at your home like your husband or your children, it’s okay being a mom, to let other people, to delegate,” she said.

Her advice to others:

“Let other people help you because we want to fix everything and it’s okay that we’re not the fixer,” Williams said. “We need to be taken care of some.”

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