Managing long-term conditions

during Coronavirus outbreak. For people with Heart disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Kidney disease and heart failure.

We understand it may be worrying for some people if they are unable to get their usual check ups as planned during the coronavirus outbreak. These checks are good to do but waiting a few months will be unlikely to cause any problems.

Things you can do to help yourself during this time are –

Smoking status-    If you smoke, please stop or at the very least, cut down. It has never been a more important time to look after your lungs.

Eat healthily – chicken, fish, eggs, fruit and vegetables ( tinned or frozen is fine if you can’t get fresh) and small amounts of carbohydrates – bread, potatoes, pasta, noodles, rice.

It’s very easy to eat rubbish (sweets, chocolates, biscuits, cakes, crisps) when you have to stay at home, but this will not be good for your health condition, so keep things in check.

Monitor your weight – Could your weight be better? Being overweight will make you more breathless than you need to be. Your lungs need to be able to expand properly without being restricted by excess weight and carrying extra weight puts a strain on your whole body. Losing weight will improve symptoms of breathlessness and make you feel a lot better.

Exercise in your house by walking up and down stairs or hallways continuously for 10 minutes at a time, several times a day to burn calories, get fitter and lose weight. If you are able, get out for a daily walk in the fresh air.

Alcohol – drinking too much alcohol affects the way health gut microbes interact with the immune system. Excessive drinking reduces the number and function of three important kinds of cells in your immune system – macrophages, T and C cells.  So just because you are at home more and not driving, think twice about increasing your alcohol intake. Stick rigidly to the recommendation of 14 units per week or less.

Monitoring blood pressure is a good thing to do but unless very, very high, not having it checked for a month or two will be unlikely to have a detrimental effect, as long as eventually it is monitored and treated appropriately, so don’t be anxious if you can’t get it checked for a while.

If however, you would rather check it yourself by buying your own blood pressure monitor – we would be happy for you to fill in the form found on the home BP monitoring page and send it to the surgery.

This service is for people known to us already, who have been getting monitored for their long term condition (heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, diabetes and heart failure). Obviously we do not have time at the moment to review these forms for anyone who just happens to want their blood pressure checked.

A satisfactory range is under 150/90 – and if the average reading for the whole week is under this, then this is a normal blood pressure range.

If more than or equal to 180/ 110 – consistently (more than just one occasion) – then you should inform your GP.

Most importantly of all, is adhering to the advice to stay at home. The less people you come in contact with the better, and the less chance you have of getting coronavirus.