Long COVID and your heart (2023)

If you have had a COVID-19 outbreak, common symptoms such asto,goose flesh, and shortness of breath may disappear in 1-2 weeks. But if some or all of your symptoms are fatigue, you should runheartbeat, chest pain, dizziness, diarrhea, joint pain ordifficulty breathingCome back or continue for 4 or more weeks after you have COVID, you may have what doctors call "long-term COVID".

In some people, symptoms can last for months or even longer. Experts also call it by other names, such as long-term COVID, post-acute COVID-19, post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) or chronic COVID, among others.

While research on COVID-19 and its side effects continues, experts aren't sure howlange covidit can affect your health in the long run. While COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs, studies are beginning to show that long-term COVID can also affect other organs in the body, including the heart, in a small number of people.

How is the long COVID affecting your heart?

If you have been ill with COVID-19 for a long time, the SARS-CoV-2 virus attacks your body and the cells and muscles of your heart in various ways.

Temporary or permanent heart problems can include:

HerzProblems with lack of oxygen.When the virus takes root in the lungs, it causesInflammation.This fills the alveoli responsible for oxygen exchange with fluid. When this happens, it reduces the amount of oxygen that can get into the bloodstream.

To compensate, the heart has to pump much harder to supply the rest of the body with oxygen-rich blood. This can damage your heart and fail if you are overworked, especially if you had heart disease before contracting COVID-19.

Or if your body isn't getting enough oxygen, it can cause your cells to die or damage tissue in your heart or other organs. Low levels of oxygen in your body can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, or chest pain.

Myocarditis.It is a condition that occurs when there is inflammation in the heart. The SARS-CoV-2 virus can attack endothelial cells, the cells that line the inner walls of blood vessels such as veins and arteries.

(Video) How COVID-19 Affects Your Heart

This can cause inflammation within the blood vessel, damage very small vessels, or cause blood clots. This can cut off blood flow between the heart and the rest of the body.

The virus can also infect and damage heart muscle and tissue directly, causing inflammation. You can also develop myocarditis due to your body's immune response to fight COVID-19.

EmphasizecardiomyopathyWhen you're infected with COVID-19, the virus can take a toll on your body, flooding it with chemicals called catecholamines. This increase can shock the heart and affect its ability to pump. But this is usually only temporary. Your heart will recover once the infection has cleared.

Arrhythmiamiatrial fibrillation.The virus can affect your heart rate, especially if you have had COVID for a long time. It can cause it to beat too fast or too slow. Or you can have it beating very quickly in a specific pattern known asatrial fibrillation.

POTS (posturales orthostatisches Tachykardiesyndrom).New evidence on long-term COVID shows that even with a mild case of COVID-19, you are at increased risk for POTS. It's a condition where your heart starts beating too fast when you get up from the supine position. You may feel very tired, dizzy, or have trouble breathing. In severe cases, the sudden change in heart rate can cause fainting (called syncope).

POTS is five times more common in women than in men.

symptoms of a heart attack.Long-term COVID can cause symptoms similar to those of a heart attack, such as:

  • shortness of breath
  • palpitations
  • chest pain
  • changes in yourElectrocardiogram(Electrocardiogram) - einsUltrasonicFrom my heart

But if your doctor does a test called an angiogram to look for major blockages in the heart's blood vessels, you might not see anything. Doctors are trying to understand more about it.

If you think you might be having a heart attack, try not to wait or look for home remedies. Get medical help immediately.

(Video) The Effects of COVID-19 on the Heart: Patient André Taylor's story

How long does COVID cause heart problems?

COVID-19 mostly attacks the lungs andrespiratory system.However, it is possible for the virus to damage other organs and tissues in the body to cause prolonged COVID. Experts are still trying to figure out exactly how.

If the virus enters your body, yourimmune systemlaunches an attack against a suspected intruder. To build a defense, it floods your body with a type of protein called a cytokine. These cytokines have the ability to communicate with each other and work together to kill the virus.

But in some people, when it releases cytokines, the immune system releases too many cytokines. This leads to a dangerous increase in inflammation that will likely overwhelm your body. This is called a "cytokine storm." This is a serious complication.

Excessive inflammation not only attacks the virus, but it can also damage good cells and tissues and damage organs, including the heart.

A cytokine storm can disrupt your heart's regular rhythm. This can lead to arrhythmias, which can be dangerous to health. When the arrhythmias in your heart's ventricles are severe enough, surviving a cytokine storm can be difficult.

Another possible cause researchers are investigating could have to do with the structure of the virus. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has spike proteins on its surface. The proteins attach to healthy cells in your body via something called “ACE2 receptors.” This allows the virus to enter the cells of your body, including the cells of your heart. If it enters a cell, it can destroy or damage it.

In some cases, the virus can cause cells in thearteriesand veins within the heart to die and formblood clotThis can lead to a variety of heart diseases.

Who is at risk?

Studies show that up to three in 10 people with COVID-19 will develop COVID over the long term.

Research shows that you are more likely to get COVID long-term if you have a severe case of the virus, especially if you are hospitalized or in the intensive care unit (ICU). You're also more likely to get it if you're not vaccinated.

(Video) Post-COVID syndrome: Heart and lungs

However, recent evidence shows that almost anyone who has had COVID-19 can have COVID-19 for up to a year after testing positive and may be at increased risk of heart problems. This includes people who:

  • You had a mild or moderate infection.
  • had no symptoms
  • Had other health issues prior to COVID-19

In addition, the researchers found that you're also at risk if you're fit and healthy, don't smoke or drink alcohol, or have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes.kidney disease,Öobesitybefore contracting the virus infection.

As with most other COVID-19 data points, Brookings Institution research shows that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to develop COVID long-term.

These include Indigenous, African American, and Hispanic peoples. This is because they have higher infection rates and exposure to COVID-19. They are also more likely to have previous health problems that cause them to have longer-lasting symptoms.

Unequal access to adequate and timely health care based on where they live or work may also put racial and ethnic minorities at higher risk of long-term heart problems related to COVID.

Long-term COVID and your heart: Symptoms to watch out for

If you have had COVID for a long time, you may have a wide range of symptoms, some of which may return or have persisted since the time you tested positive.

The long COVID does not affect everyone equally. It can be difficult to know if your symptoms are related to COVID-19 or something else, especially if you didn't have any problems before contracting the virus.

If you suspect you have long-term COVID that is affecting your heart, look out for symptoms such as:

  • sudden shortness of breath
  • low oxygen levels
  • ankle swelling
  • fatigue
  • Chest pain (mild to severe) afterwardsthe exerciseor strenuous exercise. Normally this should go away within 15 minutes.
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • sweat
  • race orcardiac arrhythmia(palpitations)

If your symptoms, such as sudden chest pain or palpitations, don't go away within 15 minutes, if your face or lips turn blue, or if your oxygen levels drop below 92%, see a doctor right away. Call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. They need to be seen by a cardiologist (called a cardiologist).

(Video) 440 - “It Really Spared No One”—Covid-19’s Long-term Heart Problems

If your symptoms aren't severe but you're concerned about how long COVID could affect your heart, talk to your GP.

What does the research say?

To examine the link between long-term COVID and heart problems, the researchers looked at COVID-19 data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This is the largest study ever conducted to learn more about the link between long-term COVID and the heart.

They compiled a list of more than 153,000 veterans who tested positive for COVID-19 to see the long-term impactVirus infectionThey were at the 1 year mark. They were compared to nearly 6 million veterans in a control group who were uninfected.

In this study, after regular follow-up, they found that people who had contracted an infection had a higher risk of various heart problems, including abnormal heart rhythms, heart disease due to poor blood flow, myocarditis,heart failure, miblood clotrelated heart problems.

More specifically, those who had COVID-19 were more than 70% more likely to develop heart failure, more than 60% more likely to have a heart attack, and more than 50% more likely to to suffer one.leakthan those who have never had COVID-19.

Can long-term heart problems related to COVID be prevented?

As experts learn more about the connection between COVID-19, long-term COVID, and the heart problems it can cause, the best way to prevent these problems or protect yourself is to not get the virus in the first place.

Get fully vaccinated as soon as you are eligible for vaccinations and booster shots. This can help prevent serious infections, which will reduce the risk of COVID in the long term.

Research also shows that in people with advanced infections, if they become infected despite being fully vaccinated, they are less likely to contract COVID in the long term than people who are unvaccinated.


1. How Does COVID-19 Affect the Heart? | Paul Cremer, MD
(Cleveland Clinic)
2. Covid May Cause Long-Term Heart Complications In Patients
(NBC News)
3. Long COVID Can Affect Heart, Brain: Why You Should Worry About These Symptoms
(India Today)
4. Covid Study Finds Risk Of Heart Problems After Infection
5. Can COVID-19 cause long-term heart damage?
(Good Morning America)
6. Gravitas: Legacy of the Wuhan virus: Heart attacks and long covid
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