It was originally thought Covid was primarily a respiratory disorder, but as larger numbers of patients contracted the virus, it quickly became clear it has many physiological manifestations. The impact of COVID-19 goes well beyond the lungs to impact the cardiovascular system and cause complications in the kidneys, brain and other organs, and critical patients often require care from a multidisciplinary care team. Cardiologists and heart specialists and have sounded the alarm on the Covid-19 virus affecting the heart and its process causing many fatalities.
What are the possible heart issues after COVID-19?
COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, can damage the heart muscle and affect heart function. There are several reasons for this. The cells in the heart have angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) receptors where the coronavirus attaches before entering cells. Heart damage can also be due to high levels of inflammation circulating in the body. As the body’s immune system fights off the virus, the inflammatory process can damage some healthy tissues, including the heart.
Coronavirus infection also affects the inner surfaces of veins and arteries, which can cause blood vessel inflammation, damage to very small vessels and blood clots, all of which can compromise blood flow to the heart or other parts of the body. Severe COVID-19 is a disease that affects endothelial cells, which form the lining of the blood vessels.
Doctors from Ziqitza Limited say there are a few reasons why a subset of long haulers may develop heart issues after having COVID. For instance, the virus reaches the heart muscle, which can lead to inflammation and heart failure. Additionally, in severe cases of COVID, the body may overreact to the virus and cause the release of cytokines, which are a type of molecule that’s part of your immune system function. This causes a so-called cytokine storm, which can overload the heart and other organs, leading to effects such as inflammation.
As we were all told to stay home during the beginning of the pandemic, many people did not seek routine health care and sometimes, emergency health care. So, some people with heart issues may have had an undiagnosed problem that was discovered after having the virus. Fatal heart attack rose during the peak of the pandemic because people didn’t seek timely help says Dr Datar, Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd
Symptoms of a Heart Issue After Having COVID-19
How do you know if you may have a heart issue following COVID-19? Here are some of the non-urgent symptoms listed down by ZHL Rajasthan and Ziqitza Rajasthan that should prompt you to contact your primary care doctor:
Any change to your overall heart rate or rhythm. You may feel your heart beating faster or slower than before. If you have a pulse oximeter at home or a wearable fitness tracker, you can use them to check your heart rate. Some smartwatches can monitor both your heart rate and heart rhythm.
- Chest pain that comes and goes.
- Dizziness that wasn’t present before.
- Fainting episodes.
- Feeling your heart racing and feeling as if you’re going to faint when you go from a reclined to an upright position.
- Feeling more fatigued.
- Swelling of the ankles.
- Weight gain.
- If you have any of the following symptoms, go to the ER for help:
- Feeling lightheaded and having one of the other symptoms listed below.
- Chest pain that continues to get worse.
- Loss of consciousness.
- A racing heart rate that doesn’t go away after a minute or two.
- Sudden, unexplained shortness of breath
Ziqitza lays emphasis on post-Covid cardiac care knowing how important it is suggested cardiac patients should continue their medicines timely. Aerobic activity is encouraged. Blood thinners should be continued. Sometimes patients with elevated d-dimer need anticoagulants for a few weeks as per consultation. What is important is 45 minutes of daily exercise, a balanced diet, and a positive mindset to keep their heart healthy. Choose heart-healthy foods and snacks (plant-based and unprocessed foods are good choices). Maintain a normal body weight, Having obesity increases your chance of serious illness from Covid-19. Exercise daily. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water; Get enough sleep by aiming for seven to eight hours of shut-eye a night. Don’t smoke or overindulge with food or alcohol. Follow your care plan.