The majority of patients who are suffering from coronavirus infection 2019 (COVID-19) recover entirely within a few weeks. However, some patients, even those with milder forms of the condition, continue to have symptoms after their initial recovery, which can have a serious impact on the heart health.
These patients are commonly referred to as “long haulers,” and the symptoms are known as a post-COVID-19 syndrome or “long COVID-19.” These health problems are commonly referred to as post-COVID-19 conditions. They are typically thought to be COVID-19 adverse health effects that last for more than four weeks after you’ve been confirmed with the virus.
Risk Factors for heart complications after Covid-19 infection
It wasn’t obvious at first why having a cardiac disease puts a patient extra sensitive to COVID-19. But, in the previous year, we’ve learned a lot about how this virus influences the body, notably the heart and vascular system. We now know that cardiac diseases are correlated with a much worse COVID-19 prognosis for two reasons:
- For start, a patient with a compromised heart or vascular system is more susceptible to complications of COVID-19 infection. Among these complications are:
- Low oxygen levels in the blood
- Fever-induced changes in heart rate
- Excessive inflammatory response
- Higher risks of blood clots.
Even a healthy heart needs to work incredibly hard to help overcome these COVID-19-related complications, but for a weak heart, these problems could rapidly become severe and lethal.
- Heart disease is often associated with other health conditions that impair general body function, such as diabetes and obesity. Obesity, for example, has been found to generate excessive inflammation, and diabetes doubles a patient’s chance of developing blood clots even when there is no infection. While infected with COVID-19, these pre-existing disorders are thought to exacerbate the virus’s impact on an already stressed heart.
How Covid-19 affecting the heart
- Clots in the blood
People who get severe Covid-19 symptoms are at an increased risk of blood clots. This is assumed to be related to blood vessel damage, either produced directly by the virus or as a byproduct of the body’s immunological reaction to the infection. Blood clots may cause major complications depending on where they are in your body, such as deep vein thrombosis, clots in blood vessels in the lung (pulmonary embolism), heart attack, or stroke.
- Heart damage caused by a lack of oxygen and nutrients
Covid-19 might induce fever and inflammation, putting additional strain on your heart while your body battles the infection. This could cause your heart rate to increase or become abnormal.
If the infection is severe enough to compromise the lungs, the quantity of oxygen that reaches the heart might also be reduced. Since the virus and the immune reaction to it can affect the cells that lining the blood vessels, clots in the blood arteries that nourish the lungs can occur, limiting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the heart.
This increased pressure on the heart, along with a shortage of oxygen and nutrients, will seriously affect the heart muscle.
We know that patients in hospitals with severe coronavirus symptoms who already have cardiac muscle injury (as shown by blood testing) have a higher mortality rate.
Further tests, known as echocardiograms, also have shown that the heart isn’t pumping as effectively as it should in certain people (heart failure).
- The inflammation of heart muscle and its lining.
Covid-19 may induce inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) and cardiac lining (pericarditis) in a limited proportion of serious conditions. Other viral infections, in addition to Covid-19, might also cause myocarditis and pericarditis.
Initially, experts assumed these effects were caused by the virus directly targeting heart muscle cells. However, as we learn more, many experts believe that the heart damage is the consequence of the immune system responding to the virus.
While many patients might have minor heart damage with no symptoms, in extreme situations it can cause shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or irregular cardiac rhythms. If you detect any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor.
It’s advisable to take covid 19 vaccine.