COVID-19 can harm the heart of those who survive it

SALT LAKE CITY – In less than a year, health experts have learned that masks prevent the spread of coronaviruses, how to quickly test for COVID-19 and are reportedly close to developing a vaccine.

And while it is too soon to unravel the long-term effects of coronovirus, scientists are beginning to identify and study some of the permanent effects of COVID-19. Early research suggests that coronovirus is having serious consequences on the cardiovascular system.

Dr., a physician and researcher of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group. Gregory Poland said, “I think it is a disease that contains many more mysteries than the common respiratory virus.” In comments shared on Mayo Clinic’s Coronavirus website, Poland reported a variety of COVID-19 induced health problems.

“We are actually seeing many reports of people reporting long-term fatigue, headaches, dizziness, along with sensations with cardio-respiratory fitness,” he said. “And I think what we’re going to find out is a big part – not all – but a large part of it is likely to be related to this significant cellular-level damage.”

“I think that’s an argument why we take this disease so seriously,” he said.

Poland warned that people who may have mild or no coronovirus symptoms may think they are over it, but “the data suggests otherwise.”

Permanent complications are affecting the heart in ways that scientists are beginning to understand. Poland stated that coronovirus patients experience myocardial damage, cardiomyopathy (a heart disease that can weaken the heart muscle), arrhythmia, ejection fractions (a metric to determine the pumping capacity of the heart) and arteries and Venous trauma (clots) in the arteries or veins).

He said doctors have also found pulmonary fibrosis or lung lesion, in coronovirus patients.

So why is a novel respiratory disease affecting the heart and circulatory system? Utah cardiologist Dr. Kevin Shah has the answer.

“There are other viruses in the same family of this virus, SARS-COV-2, which is believed to cause heart problems,” Shah said.

What is unique about this virus is its highly infectious nature, the cardiologist said, adding that “there is a high affinity for the virus to bind a particular protein that is expressed within the heart and within endothelial cells or blood vessels Is performed.”

Shah said that another cause of heart problems associated with the disease comes from the reaction of the virus in the body.

“What we are seeing in cases of severe infection, the body often produces a strong immune response to fight viral infections and that strong immune response can potentially, indirectly, lead to cardiovascular outcomes,” he said. Explained.

U. In an article released on Tuesday, health care professionals recognized these cardiovascular outcomes in “severe COVID-19 cases” and that it was “more common in patients who are older adults and know the risk factors for heart disease.” ” Obesity, especially among young people, was an additional risk factor.

The University of Utah Health, like the Mayo Clinic, has also seen examples of myocarditis, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, and blood clots in coronovirus patients. Shah also identified other cardio-related diseases such as stroke and heart attack.

Shah said that people who have COVID-19 should focus on their body during and after recovering from the virus. Cardiologists around the country, he said, have seen “delayed presentations” for severe heart conditions as individuals have been eager to seek medical help during an epidemic. These conditions are “time sensitive” and care delays can lead to more serious consequences.

It is important that people “do not ignore any new symptoms to come”, Shah said.

The symptoms reported by the cardiologist were, “things like chest pain, dysfunction, heart palpitations, shortness of breath (and) abnormal fatigue.” “These are things that should be investigated by a physician.”

Research by the World Heath Organization found that most people diagnosed with COVID-19 “have mild symptoms or moderate illness,” and “in 10-15% of cases of severe disease progression,” according to WHO since September 9. About 5 % Of cases become “critically ill”.

A multi-state telephone survey at an American Center for Disease Control and Prevention – cited by the WHO – for adults who had symptoms of the virus and tested positive for coronovirus, “35% of their general health condition at the time of Interview 2 Did not return to the condition. — 3 weeks after the test. “And not even 20% of 18- to 34-year-old adults had returned to their pre-COVID-19 health.

The CDC survey stated, “COVID-19 can also result in chronic disease in young adults without chronic medical conditions.”

Along with heart and lung damage, the WHO identified brain and nervous system consequences – such as losing smell and memory and a sense of concentration loss – such as potential long-term health problems affected by coronoviruses. Fatigue, joint and muscle aches and mental health illness were others.

“Mayo Clinic’s Poland said,” This may be a rogue virus in some people. “We’re going to see more and more long-term results and we need to rigorously study those symptoms like we did acute symptoms, catalog them, understand them, and then do clinical trials to see how best to treat them.” for. ”

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