At this point, most people understand that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, requiring us to all use masks and social distance to prevent the spread of the disease. However, some may not know that it also affects other organs such as the heart. This week, let’s discuss some of the components of heart health and COVID-19.
Issues with Inflammation
The most prominent, verified issue with the heart regarding COVID-19 is myocarditis, colloquially known as heart inflammation, which may result in a loss of the heart’s ability to pump blood to other parts of the body as well as abnormal heart rhythms. While anyone can be afflicted by these issues, those with underlying heart conditions such as coronary heart disease and hypertension are also at risk of life threatening issues as a result of COVID onset myocarditis. This risk can be further seen in the current death toll statistics with around 40% of all COVID deaths related to a cardiovascular issue. Even in the event of recovery, JAMA Cardiology’s study on those who recovered from the virus showed ongoing myocarditis in 60% of those who recovered.
Lack of Oxygen
A common sight of those under severe COVID distress is the use of ventilators to help oxygenate blood. The issue with COVID is that it hampers the lung’s ability to collect oxygen and send it to the bloodstream, therefore requiring the heart to work harder. The risk becomes that of possible insufficient oxygen to the heart and body, causing severe damage and the heart may become overworked as a result of lowered oxygen levels, causing the heart to fail. Both these scenarios can lead to death if not treated promptly.
Heart Health Outlook
It’s too early to say what sort of effects does COVID-19 have on the heart during and after recovery, but research by JAMA Cardiology found that 78% of recovered patients in their study had heart abnormalities, leading some experts to have some concern. However, only time and more research can reveal what COVID-19 means for those afflicted in the future.
With so much uncertainty revolving around the current pandemic, it remains vital that we maintain proper heart health to minimize possible damage in the event of contracting COVID-19 and to help lead to a quick and speedy recovery. Please refer to our other article about maintaining heart health to learn how to keep your heart in shape during quarantine. Please remember to wear a mask, it may save your life and others. Stay Safe.
Forbes Aggabao -Alexander’s Hope Intern