How COVID-19 affects your heart
Although COVID-19 has been known as a virus that affects the lungs, it can cause other medical complications, even after the virus is long gone. Cardiologist Ryan Wilson, MD, shared information about how COVID-19 can affect your heart, even if you have no previous heart related issues.
“This virus is complicated because we’ve been taught that if you are healthy you can shrug off these viruses, but that is not the case with COVID-19. This virus is affecting healthy and unhealthy individuals in the same way,” said Dr. Wilson.
How does COVID-19 affect the heart?
COVID-19 affects the body in a wide range of ways, including your heart. “We’ve seen the virus create heart problems for individuals, ranging from inflammation in the heart muscles to heart attacks to cardiac arrest, all stemming from COVID-19” said Dr. Wilson. “While most patients have some preexisting heart condition that seems to be exacerbated by the virus, some have no preexisting heart condition and they still experience heart complications.”
In general, most patients do well without any severe complications from COVID-19, but about 10% of people who are hospitalized require intensive care.
How long does it take to recover from heart complications due to COVID-19?
Dr. Wilson said there is a wide range of recovery times. “This is still an open question. We’ve seen some patients recover in a few days, while others are still experiencing issues months later,” he said.
What if I’m experiencing heart symptoms unrelated to COVID-19?
If you are experiencing any heart disease symptoms, you need to talk to your doctor. If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.
“You need to be certain you are getting the care you need, even during this pandemic. Precautions are being taken in our facilities to protect patients and keep them safe from the virus,” said Dr. Wilson. “Please don’t put off the care you need because you are afraid of being exposed to COVID-19.”
He also cautioned everyone to continue taking precautions. “Given we don’t know who will be severely affected by COVID-19, everyone needs to take precautions. Wear your mask, social distance and practice good hand hygiene. As soon as it is available to you, get the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Wilson.
Get updates on the COVID-19 vaccine
Prisma Health’s COVID-19 vaccine timeline, distribution updates and other frequently asked questions can be found on our website. Please check back often for updates, which will be posted as they become available.