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Report: People with heart disease more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 symptoms

More than half of Americans, 120 million, have some kind of cardiovascular disease.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — We know people with underlying health issues are at great risk for the effects of COVID-19.

Reports show that includes if you have high blood pressure.

More than half of Americans, 120 million, have some kind of cardiovascular disease. That means they're also experiencing other health concerns because of that weak immune system. 

The American Heart Association's executive director says people in that group are having more severe symptoms and have a higher risk of mortality. 

She says people with cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure really need to be paying attention to the guidelines. Now more than ever, you have to be thinking about your health. 

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"If you are home, which many of us are, it's so easy to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Again, now more than ever it's a time that we need to be hyper-focused on getting our steps in, and that might look a whole lot different than it would if we were going into a typical day into the office, so making the extra effort to walk, even if that means around your house or the neighborhood and making an effort to eat healthy nutirious foods," Amanda Palumbo, Executive Director, American Heart Association of Tampa Bay, said.

There aren't a lot of answers right now about how COVID-19 will impact us long term. The American Heart Association says it is committed to finding a solution right now. 

The organization is giving $2.5 million to fast track research and better understand the effects of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system. 

Then, if care needs to evolve in the future, it will have a better idea of what that will look like. 

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