What does COVID-19 mean for those living with cholesterol or blood fat conditions?
Having a high cholesterol level does not mean you're more likely to catch COVID-19 or be affected seriously if you do, but do check our information on who is at risk below.
Just as catching seasonal flu can impact conditions such as coronary heart disease, COVID-19 is likely to have a similar effect. Any virus can put excess stress on your body's systems and organs, and this can cause any conditions you already have to get worse. This is why taking steps to protect yourself from catching coronavirus is important, even if you feel fit and well.
Keep taking your medicines
- Keep taking all your medications as prescribed unless your doctor or 111 tell you otherwise.
- Make sure you have your usual stock of medications available – there is no need to order any extra.
- If you need to stay home, you can also ask your surgery or pharmacy if they offer a delivery service or if they can suggest a company that can offer this for you.
Some GP services, hospitals, clinics and specialist FH services may still be affected by the pandemic so there could be delays and cancellations of routine appointments. Where possible, look for information and support online from reputable websites about your health conditions, such as the NHS and health charities.
The government have information on who is at higher risk. If this includes you, the advice is to follow the same guidance as everyone else.
Our HEART UK lipid experts have identified people at higher risk of severe illness
If you have one or more of the following risk factors or conditions which affect the heart and blood vessels, you are at higher risk of severe illness if you contract coronavirus:
- some people with FH
- coronary heart disease or stroke, including if you have had a heart attack, stent, bypass surgery, stroke or TIA (transient ischaemic attack or mini stroke)
- peripheral arterial disease (also known as peripheral vascular disease or PAD)
- a confirmed diagnosis of the inherited lipid condition familial dysbetalipoproteinaemia (Type 3)
- severe obesity (with a body mass index or BMI of 40 or over)
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- steroid medication: doses of Prednisolone above 15mgs are generally considered as immunosuppressive, but everyone taking oral or inhaled steroids is at higher risk of developing severe disease if they contract coronavirus.
If you have one or more of these conditions, follow the government’s guidance which is currently the same as for the rest of the population.
Cholesterol and coronavirus webinar
On this special HEART UK webinar, find out how coronavirus might affect you if you have high cholesterol, a related condition such as heart disease, or an inherited cholesterol condition such as FH.
Dr Dermot Neely, lipidologist and trustee of HEART UK, and Simon Williams, former Head of Communications and Policy at HEART UK, discuss the pandemic and address the issues raised.