HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — February is Heart Health Month and this year doctors are raising awareness of the link between COVID-19 and heart problems.
COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs of people who have the disease, but studies show that it can also have lingering effects on your heart.
Dr. Charles Mild told KVEO that there are a few common heart conditions that can be caused by becoming ill with COVID-19.
“COVID itself is known to cause what is called a hypercoagulative state,” explained Dr. Mild.
Being in a hypercoagulable state means that you are more likely to develop blockages in your arteries, which can lead to an increase in strokes and heart attacks.
In addition to hypercoagulability, Dr. Mild said that COVID-19 “[is] more of a potent viral stimuli for developing what’s called ‘cardiomyopathy’, or ‘viral cardiomyopathy’.”
Cardiomyopathy weakens your heart to the point that less blood is pumped throughout your body. Since there is less blood being delivered to your brain, lungs, and other organs, less oxygen is getting distributed.
According to Dr. Mild, 24-40% of Covid-19 patients will experience some form of a heart condition as a result of the disease. Most will end up recovering.
The majority of heart problems caused by COVID-19 are in a certain group of people. “Those who have preexisting heart disease, already had a heart attack, have diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and advanced age, are at higher risk,” explained Dr. Mild.
According to a heart.org study, heart problems as a result of COVID-19 are responsible for around 40% of Covid-19 deaths.
Dr. Mild said that living a healthier lifestyle is a good way to protect your heart from heart diseases, not only from COVID-19, but just in general as well.
Even though hospitals in the area are becoming fuller, anyone experiencing any kind of chest pain should go to the hospital immediately, don’t wait, and hope you’ll get better.
“Anything that is unusual, particularly if someone is known to have coronary disease, they need to show up to the hospital, they will be taken care of,” said Dr. Mild.