There has been a steep rise in the number of recovered Covid-19 patients who have encountered long-term heart problems, such as chest pain, sudden palpitation, heart attack, heart swelling, heart failure, low pump capacity (low ejection fraction), blood clotting, and arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat). To keep the heart healthy, patients must opt for regular cardiac screening every six months, stick to a healthy diet, stay physically active and take medication as suggested by the doctor.
Cardiac issues crop because of the high levels of inflammation in one’s body. As the body’s immune system fights Covid-19, the inflammatory process destroys healthy tissues along with the heart. The virus has also caused cardiac injury in people who were free of any heart disease.
Dr Prafulla Kerkar, head of cardiology department at King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, said that a recent study conducted in Sweden identified Covid-19 as an independent risk factor for ischaemic stroke and acute myocardial infarction. “The study showed that the virus is definitely a risk factor for both heart attack and brain attack. In our medical practice, we have seen even young people suffering from a heart attack. However, to prove it is related to Covid-19 is difficult. One should take precaution. Get vaccinated and observe Covid-19 protocols. Heart patients should continue taking their medication,” said Dr Kerkar.
Dr Pramod Narkhede, cardiologist, Apollo Clinic, said, after getting infected with the virus, patients encounter chest pain, myocarditis (inflammation of heart muscle), heart attack, heart failure, blood clotting, arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat), and stroke. These problems may be seen after months of recovery too. It was observed that 78 out of the 100 patients diagnosed with the infection reported symptoms of heart damage and inflammation
Mainly young adults and elderly patients suffer from it. “Many people experience shortness of breath, chest pain or palpitations. Any of these problems could be related to the heart. However, they could also be due to other factors, including the aftermath of being very ill, prolonged inactivity and spending weeks convalescing in bed. Around six out of 10 patients seen in the OPD have post-Covid-19 cardiac symptoms. The problems should be addressed and attended to at the earliest. Those who have pre-existing heart problems should be cautious too and should have their regular medications and follow up. Regular checks up and medical attention at early signs or symptoms can prevent lethal complications," concluded Dr Narkhede.
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