In the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists have discovered that the coronavirus has widespread health effects beyond acute illness. One of the recent studies People with Covid-19 have been found to be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease for at least one year after recovery.
This study, published this month in Nature Medicine, used data from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department’s National Medical Database to track more than 153,000 veterans with a history of Covid-19 infection for up to one year after recovery. did.
People who have never been infected with the coronavirus are more likely to develop symptoms such as inflammatory heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmias, heart attacks, stroke, and coagulation in the long run. People previously infected with Covid-19 were more than 60% more likely to develop heart problems. Many of these symptoms, such as pulmonary embolism, are life-threatening.
Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, Principal Researcher and Head of Research and Development at VA St. Louis Healthcare, said: system.
As the severity of the disease increased, so did the risk of cardiovascular complications in the long run. People treated with the ICU had the highest risk of cardiovascular disease after recovery. For example, a person who is not hospitalized may develop twice as much pulmonary embolism as a person who does not have Covid-19, and a person treated in the ICU may develop 27 times more pulmonary embolism. There was sex.
The risk of this problem was also found at all ages, genders, races, and heart risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity.
People with a history of Covid-19 infection are more than five times more likely to develop myocarditis (myocardial inflammation) one year later.Nevertheless Studies show Because myocarditis can be a rare response to the mRNA vaccine, this study found that the risk of myocarditis from Covid-19 infection was clear, regardless of vaccination status.
The sample size of the survey was solid, but most of the subjects surveyed were white men. In addition, because the study enrollment period ended on January 15, 2021, few participants were vaccinated prior to infection before the Covid-19 vaccine became widely available.
According to Al-Aly, arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation were the most common heart problems after infection.
“In my own practice, I’m more likely to see people with high arrhythmias and those who report a rapid heart rate after Covid infection. Over and over again, my heart rate has dropped and improved over the course of several months. “Dr. Nika Goldberg, NYU Langone Medical Center and Medical Director of Atria New York City, told CNN. She was not involved in her new research.
According to Goldberg, people who have had Covid-19 or other viral infections can develop a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which causes a spike in heart rate when they stand up. increase. With proper hydration, these symptoms usually improve spontaneously. Some people who continue to have symptoms need medical treatment, Goldberg said.
Still, “these viral infections weren’t as big as we see in Covid-19,” she added.
Goldberg is also surprised that the study showed long-term complications even in people with no history of heart disease, although cardiac complications with Covid-19 are expected in people with certain risk factors. He said he was.
“I think this issue of low risk elsewhere, except that these people had Covid-19, is an area that really needs to be investigated,” she said.
Al-Aly says the findings should change the way we think about Covid-19 and heart health.
“It is necessary to understand that Covid-19 is currently a cardiovascular risk factor, as doctors are talking about cholesterol as a risk factor for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease,” he said.
It is still unclear why the respiratory virus Covid-19 can have such significant effects on the cardiovascular system. According to Al-Aly, the theory is that the receptors that the virus uses to invade cells are also commonly found in heart cells. Therefore, the Covid-19 peaplomer acts as a “key to people’s hearts” and can cause damage, he said.
Findings are added to the list of potential protracted consequences of a Covid-19 infection called long Covid.
“The numbers our study suggests are that there are likely to be millions of people in the United States who have heart problems now or in the near future … and I. I don’t think the country is paying close attention to the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, “Al-Aly said. “We decided to bury our heads in the sand. We forgot that this Covid-19 pandemic and the Covid-19 itself could have long-term implications.”
Coronavirus infection itself has already tested the limits of the US healthcare system, and there are concerns about whether the US is ready to treat the long-term burden of illness.
“Our healthcare system is, in many ways, already overloaded before the pandemic, especially with regard to the care of those who are the most vulnerable and face the greatest barriers to care. Dr. Linawen, an analyst and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute Public School, said: Health.
As doctors and patients are working on the long unknowns of Covid as well, there is one clear precaution to deal with this problem. It’s a vaccine.
“Just saying that you don’t want to get Covid because it can be serious in the short term is not the perfect answer,” said Wen, an emergency physician. “Some people may not be as severe as being hospitalized immediately, but they can have multiple consequences. Again, this is to reduce the chances of getting a Covid in the first place. It emphasizes the need for vaccination. ”
Experts advise people infected with Covid-19 to take unexplained cardiovascular symptoms seriously and seek immediate help.
This study focuses on the effects of Covid-19 on the cardiovascular system, but other organ systems are probably affected as well. Researchers are planning to investigate the effects of this virus on diabetes and the nervous system.
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