People who have had COVID and even healthy people are prone to heart problems post-COVID-19 as many have reported some symptoms of heart damage.
Though the COVID virus was originally thought to be a respiratory infection, it now becomes clear that the infection threatens the heart too.
Understanding the connection between COVID- 19 and the cardiovascular system:
Covid can damage the heart in two ways –
1) Due to inflammation: The Covid infection can lead to inflammation throughout the body, which can hurt the functioning of the heart.The inflammation in the body can further lead to the weakening of heart muscles, causing abnormalities of the heart rhythm and clot formation in blood vessels.
2) Due to direct viral harm:In some cases, the virus may directly invade receptor cells, known as ACE2 receptors, within the myocardial tissue and cause direct viral harm. Direct invasion of heart muscle cells is more severe, as it increases the risk of significant heart damage by causing Myocarditis.
It is also important to understand that the amount of damage inflicted on the heart depends on the viral load of COVID 19, along with a person’s immune response and the presence of comorbidities.
Patients with pre-existing heart disease are at greater risk:
Patients with hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels, and obesity have a greater risk of experiencing worse outcomes with COVID-19.
Hypertension is one of the greatest risk factors due to its increased severity and mortality rate, particularly over the age of 60 years.
The condition is severe in these patients as endothelial cells, which line the blood vessels, respond differently to the body’s immune response of heart patients. The response potentially releases inflammatory cytokines that further provoke the body’s inflammatory response adding to the formation of blood clots.
The bottom line:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle; unhealthy behaviors welcome the virus.
- Cut back on alcohol and tobacco.
- Walk and exercise regularly
- Low salt, low fat, high fiber and sugar-free diet
- Avoid fried and oily food
- Get regular medical examination and investigations as advised by the attending doctor.
Those who unfortunately contract COVID-19 should regularly seek medical care for their conditions and continue with their routine medications.
Do not skip the prescribed cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory Medicines. These can lower your risk of experiencing a cardiac event after recovering from covid.
Please share your experiences here being a doctor.
What is your advice to recovered the COVID19 patients to minimize the risk of heart damage in long run?
Let us know in the comments below: