The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the world in ways unimaginable. Starting from destabilizing all established institutions (healthcare, economic) to pushing everyone into a perpetual state of uncertainty, this highly unpredictable pandemic has made its deadly presence felt everywhere. Although the viral strain is constantly evolving, one thing has stayed certain for the most part; the elderly and those with underlying conditions are at greatest risk. It is important for everyone to be aware and vigilant about our health in order to avoid any serious illness.
It is crystal clear by now that the Novel Coronavirus has the potential to trigger a dangerous respiratory infection. It has been seen that people who earlier never experienced respiratory trouble also felt severe respiratory distress during a COVID-19 infection. In the event of your lungs not working in their highest capacity, your heart activity too will be affected because like all other organs, the heart too depends on the lungs for a fresh supply of oxygen. And in the absence of enough oxygen, it will have a hard time pumping oxygenated blood throughout your body. This inevitably puts a lot of pressure on your heart and other vital organs. And if you are someone with pre-existing heart disease, then your heart is already at risk of a more severe COVID infection. So, what should you know and do to safeguard your heart?
Let’s find out in this article how COVID affects the heart.
Heart Diseases and COVID
Heart patients with COVID need to understand that a Coronavirus infection can affect anyone but having a pre-existing heart condition means that your infection can be severe. According to a professor of cardiovascular medicine at UTHealth, Houston, many viruses (including SARS CoV-2) can even bring about heart attacks. The exact reason is still a subject of research, however, it has been proposed that the COVID-19 virus causes inflammation in the body. When a severe inflammation happens during COVID infection it may lead to the formation of blood clots which can block your blood vessels. If these clots form in the small blood vessels of your heart or travel to your heart a heart attack may occur. It has been observed that the coronavirus can also affect the muscular structure of the heart making it weak. It stands to reason that people already diagnosed with heart disorders are likely to experience a worsening of the ailment if they do not get proper treatment when they contract COVID.
COVID complications related to the heart must never be neglected and one should seek medical attention right away if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19 or the warning signs associated with a heart attack or stroke. Immediate action can save lives.
COVID Treatment for Heart Patients
COVID treatment for a heart patient as well as a non-heart patient is almost the same. Your doctor will advise some tests to check for the risk of blood clots and may advise some medicines called blood thinners if needed. During your infection period, if at any point you feel severe chest pain, palpitation, shortness of breath or even episodes of fainting, it is imperative that you get yourself admitted to a hospital or nursing home at the earliest. The doctors there will determine what medications to put you on or carry out any procedure required to prevent the worsening of the condition.
There is no proven method of preventing COVID-19 induced myocarditis or arrhythmias (rapid or irregular heartbeat). The only way you can keep your heart safe and healthy is by following standard COVID safety protocols and seeking immediate treatment if you get an infection.
How to Stay Safe
- Wear a mask (or two) to prevent contracting COVID-19.
- Frequently sanitize your hands when you are outside.
- Wash your hands often with soap when at home.
- If you have regular check-ups set up with your doctor, do it over video call instead of going to the hospital/clinic.
- Ensure to keep having your prescribed heart medications on time.
- Get vaccinated at the earliest.
- Do not delay in seeking medical attention if you are COVID-19 asymptomatic but suddenly experience the following signs such as:
- Burning pressure in the chest
- Intense shortness of breath
- Sharp pain
- Follow up regularly for routine health checkups with your doctor even after recovering from a COVID infection.
The COVID-19 virus is constantly mutating and so danger still persists. The relation between heart diseases and COVID keeps getting more complicated as it does with other health conditions. The only way you can keep yourself as well as your loved ones safe is by following heart-healthy habits, getting vaccinated and following safety protocols.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.