COVID-19 is causing heart complications
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The majority of people with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover fully.
However, 20% of infected people will develop a much more severe form of the illness. When COVID becomes severe, there’s a much higher risk of developing moderate to life threatening heart conditions.
Here’s a breakdown of three scenarios.
In severe cases of COVID, the body’s immune system overreacts to the infection by releasing inflammatory molecules called cytokines into the bloodstream. The so-called “cytokine storm” can damage multiple organs, including the heart.
COVID also activates the body’s clotting system and weakens the lining of the coronary artery.
This can lead to heart attacks in patients of all ages who might not have had prior risk factors.
Lastly, COVID can actually cause heart damage itself through direct and indirect processes.
The disease can directly infect the heart muscle. Or, it can indirectly cause inflammation and enlarge the heart muscle. Both cases lead to the development of what’s called myocarditis, which prevents the heart from pumping blood to the rest of the body.
“When this happens, the heart becomes enlarged, becomes weakened and it causes low blood pressure. Your lungs can fill up with fluid because the heart is no longer pumping blood forward. And, all that blood backs up into the lungs and causes fluid in the legs as well,” said Sanford Health Cardiologist Stephen Boateng.
Doctors say people with cardiovascular disease are more than twice as likely to contract severe forms of COVID because CVD weakens the body’s ability to survive stress from illnesses.
This puts them at an even higher risk of further damage to their heart.
Just some of the reasons health experts say it is extremely important to continue the precautions listed by the Centers for Disease Control to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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