Heart Disease and COVID-19

Some people that caught the coronavirus were lucky enough to have experienced light symptoms and minimal aftereffects. Others were not that fortunate.

Some COVID survivors have reported ongoing symptoms that include everything from respiratory problems, to muscle aches, to hair loss. Then, there are those who have experienced heart damage. 

An increasing amount of studies are coming in suggesting that many people that have had COVID experienced some sort of heart damage including those who did not have a prior heart condition and those that did not experience major symptoms. Read on to find out more. 

What the Stats Indicate

Nearly one fourth of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have been diagnosed with cardiovascular issues that have been shown to contribute to about 40% of COVID related death. Myocarditis is a common COVID related condition that is characterized by inflammation around the heart. It could increase the chances of heart failure occurring at some point in the patient’s life. 

Recent studies show that the COVID-heart disease risk could be stronger than these initial stats indicate. JAMA Cardiology performed an analysis of autopsies done on 39 COVID 19 patients and identified heart infections in those who were not diagnosed with cardiovascular issues when they were ill. 

Another study coming out of JAMA used cardiac MRIs on 100 people who had recovered from COVID. Heart abnormalities were found in the hearts of 78% of these individuals. 60% were dealing with myocardial inflammation while 76% showed high levels of the blood enzyme troponin, an indicator of heart damage. 

What Does this Mean for Patients That Already Have Heart Conditions?

People who already have heart disease are at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus and may also be severely affected if they become ill. 

The heart and lungs work together to maintain oxygenation in the body. When the lungs become affected with a respiratory illness, the heart must work even harder. The added stress can be too much for a heart that is not functioning at full capacity in the first place. In these instances, a heart attack or stroke is more likely to occur. 

People with heart disease also tend to be older and have weakened immune systems that make them more likely to catch the virus. If they are in medical care where they are in close proximity to medical workers that could be carriers, their risk increases. 

Where to Go From Here

The outlook is somewhat bleak, but with more knowledge comes increased care options. People that are diagnosed with COVID are encouraged to see a doctor early on to find out how it affected their heart, so they can start to take preventative measures before things get out of hand. 

Those with heart disease should be careful to protect themselves from the virus and they should get the vaccination when it becomes available. Although some heart patients are concerned about how the vaccine may affect them, studies show that the virus is a lot more damaging than the cure. 

COVID has affected many lives, but fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The information in this article provides you with knowledge that can help you keep yourself and your family safe. Here’s wishing you and yours the best in health in the coming year.

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