A large number of recovered patients from Covid-19 have encountered heart problems and even patients with existing heart problems have felt its effects. The virus can lead to heart injury, heart failure, stroke, and damage to your heart say, doctors.
“People with heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other co-morbidities fall into the high-risk category as they get sick from Covid. The virus not only affects the lungs and the brain but your heart as well. There is a steep rise in post-Covid patients with cardiac issues like breathing problems, chest tightness and pain, sudden palpitations, heart attack, myocarditis, swelling of the heart, low pumping capacity, heart failure, blood clotting, and arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat). The reason behind heart damage can be attributed to high levels of inflammation in one’s body. As the body’s immune system tackles the virus, the inflammatory process damages some healthy tissues, including the heart,” said Pramod Narkhede, Cardiologist, Apollo Clinic, Pune.
Narkhede added, “Covid infection impacts the inner surfaces of one’s veins and arteries that lead to blood vessel inflammation, damage to small vessels, compromising blood flow to the heart and even other parts of the body. Once you spot signs like dizziness, light-headedness, sudden palpitation, hypertension, vomiting, sweating, and shortness of breath then consult your doctor.”
Narayan Gadkar, Consultant Cardiologist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur, highlighted, “If there is plaque build-up in the arteries then the virus will lead to a heart attack. That is why one’s with Covid are at a higher risk of a heart attack. Covid caused mortality and morbidity in patients with heart disease. Covid has led to cardiac injury in people who were free of any heart disease. There will be an advancement of heart disease in people with pre-existing heart conditions. Patients with dilated cardiomyopathy need to take enough care as it can also worsen after Covid-19.”
Gadkar added, “Or even if you have uncontrolled hypertension then your arteries will be damaged owing to the high blood pressure. Covid will directly attack one’s heart and you will have serious complications as your heart muscles are already under stress owing to the high blood pressure. This will lead to inflammation of the heart muscle that is myocarditis due to the overactive immune response produced by the body owing to the virus. Thus, heart failure can occur in such a situation. Covid-19 could presage heart failure that is a chronic, progressive condition wherein heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body declines at a rapid rate.”
Those who have developed chest pain post-Covid recovery or those who have minor heart problems already and got infected with Covid-19 should go for cardiac tests to determine the functioning of the heart, the doctors say.
It is the need of the hour to embrace a healthy lifestyle and take care of your heart. Don’t forget to go for regular follow-ups, too. Try to take care of your heart by exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, and adhere to Covid protocol.