Coronavirus Takes a Toll on the Heart

At Neuliven Health, we’ve been focusing our blogs on safety tips and healthy lifestyle advice during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want people to live their healthiest lives while following social distancing and social isolation guidelines. Life will get back to normal, but it’s so important to take care of yourself in the here and now, to protect yourself from getting ill and to protect the people around you.

The coronavirus has many lasting effects. A study in China has found that nearly 20 percent of people who were severely ill with COVID-19 have new or worsened heart damage. The information is being supported by data from Italy, Washington state and New York. COVID-19 patients without respiratory distress who did not have a heart problem before falling ill are suffering from heart failure and death.

This comes after all the warnings that people with heart problems are more likely to become seriously ill if they contract the virus. In fact, doctors are saying that people who recover from the infection may suffer chronic illness afterward. Patients with preexisting heart problems were likely to see their hearts worse after recovering, and people without a heart problem before were likely to recover with poorer heart health. Unfortunately, because of isolation measures, many COVID-19 patients aren’t having their hearts monitored because doing so would expose more medical workers to the virus.

The virus itself is infecting the heart muscle cells, or a severe inflammatory response can create problems [as a result of the influx of] white blood cells sent to attack the villain,” said Dr. Bonow, Northwestern Univ. cardiology professor. “Proteins that are elaborated to fight infection may also damage tissue. We see this popping up many times in the middle of everything else going onto, with markers of severe lung injury and inflammation and now evidence of heart injury too.”

COVID-19 can mimic a heart attack. Doctors have seen symptoms of a heart attack, start to treat the problem and then found no blockages. A study of a woman with COVID-19 showed she had no respiratory issues but was suffering heart problems, having never experienced them before. The scientists concluded that her problem “provides evidence of cardiac involvement as a possible late phenomenon of the viral respiratory infection.”

Much of the news has been focused on the high mortality rate of COVID-19. However, this new find underscores another reason we should all take care of ourselves during the pandemic. This virus isn’t just dangerous while it’s actively infecting a person. It can have a profound impact that can alter health permanently. This is even truer for people who already have some preexisting conditions. The pandemic will pass, and when it does, we hope you are all healthy. In the meantime, protect yourself and others. We have been following the outbreak and will continue to do so. You can find more of Neuliven Health’s coverage here and here.
April 09, 2020
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