- 90 per cent of people with moderate to severe COVID infections have lasting effects on the heart
- COVID-19 can cause acute myocardial injury and chronic damage to the cardiovascular system
- There is still a lot to learn about lasting heart effects on people who have had COVID-19
While Covid-19 has primarily been a respiratory disease, about 90 per cent of people with moderate to severe infections have lasting effects on the heart, said Delhi-based experts. Covid affects lungs the most, but studies have shown there is increasing evidence of cardiovascular complications due to Covid-19.
The virus can cause acute myocardial injury and chronic damage to the cardiovascular system. During the pandemic, it has been observed that heart attacks and heart failures have been high, and deaths due to heart disease have also increased significantly. Research also shows that there is still a lot to learn about lasting heart effects on people who have had Covid-19.
In some cases, patients are left with signs of heart damage that may call for continued monitoring. "Among all the patients who have suffered from moderate to severe Covid, 80 to 90 per cent of them have underlying heart damage," said Dr (Prof) Mohit Gupta, Professor Cardiology, GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi.
"Heart and lungs are affected in Covid recovered patients as part of post Covid syndrome and 15-30 per cent of patients are affected by it," Gupta added. Some of the symptoms common in coronavirus "long-haulers," such as palpitations, dizziness, chest pain and shortness of breath, may be due to heart problems.
Gupta suggested maintaining a good diet, exercise and rest for increasing heart health. "To stay heart-healthy, it is imperative to maintain an ideal weight, burn calories, do exercise, and avoid smoking. And do yoga to relieve stress," said Dr Purshotam Lal, Interventional Cardiologist, Chairman, Metro Group of Hospitals.
He also stressed on the need for timely and "regular heart check-ups because the cases of cardiac arrest have increased significantly", during the pandemic.