Those who get COVID-19 are at increased risk for developing 20 various cardiac and vascular illnesses after contracting the virus, according to a recent research published in the journal Nature Medicine.
According to the findings of the research, even persons who were not hospitalized with COVID-19 suffered greater cardiovascular illness than those who were never infected. Heart failure, stroke, abnormal heart rhythms, blood clots, blood vessel illnesses, and heart inflammatory disorders such as pericarditis and myocarditis are all possible long-term consequences of cigarette smoking.
“There were 20 heart problems identified in individuals who were suffering from long-term COVID,” says the researcher. For example, “the most prevalent symptoms are shortness of breath and weariness,” according to Evelina Grayver, MD, the head of women’s heart health at Northwell Health in New York, who was not involved in the research.
According to her, “the new arrhythmias, or aberrant cardiac rhythms, that individuals are experiencing are very substantial and may become really debilitating for a number of patients.”
Researchers evaluated data from national health care databases maintained by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, which included almost 154,000 veterans who received COVID-19 between March 2020 and January 2021, according to the study. They calculated the risks of 20 cardiovascular illnesses as well as their one-year prognosis.
The probability of developing all 20 of the distinct heart and vascular disorders was considerably greater in veterans who had COVID-19 one year earlier when compared to veterans who had not acquired the coronavirus. In correlation with the severity of COVID-19, the risk increased. It increased even more among the almost 17,000 veterans who were admitted to hospitals and the 5,400 veterans who were admitted to critical care units.
The danger varied depending on the condition. Veterans who tested positive for COVID-19, for example, had a 72 percent increased chance of developing heart failure after 12 months than those who did not test positive. According to the findings of the research, this translates to around 12 additional persons per 1,000 getting heart failure. Over the course of the study, 45 more infected persons per 1,000 were diagnosed with any of the 20 illnesses than were uninfected ones.
Scientists at Science reported that since the research period ended before vaccinations were widely accessible, 99.7 percent of the affected veterans were unvaccinated at the time of infection with COVID-19. As a result, the article does not address whether the risks for long-term cardiovascular issues are the same in persons who have been vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated. According to the news site, another research is now being reviewed by a medical publication to determine the answer to that issue.
In addition, the study’s authors point out that the research was limited to the veteran community, which tends to be older, white, and male in comparison to the general population. There was around 90 percent of patients were males, more than 70 percent of whom were Caucasian, with an average age of 60. According to Science, the study team made sure to account for the potential that people who got COVID-19 were already at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In addition, they employed statistical approaches to account for gender and racial differences.
As Ziyad Al-Aly, a senior study author and the head of research at the VA St. Louis Health Care System, said to the news source, COVID is a problem that affects people of all backgrounds.
Among the findings was an increase in the risk of cardiovascular issues in both elderly and young individuals, in persons with and without diabetes, in people who were obese and in people who were not obese, and in people who smoked and in people who did not smoke, according to the researcher.
Scientists are now investigating how COVID-19 harms the heart and blood vessels, as well as how it raises the chance of developing cardiovascular disorders. According to Al-Aly, a coronavirus infection may cause direct damage to cardiac muscles during infection, as well as inflammation in the cells that coat the interior of the heart and blood vessels, as well as general inflammation that scars the heart and blood vessels, during infection.
For the time being, he said, the research implies that millions of COVID-19 survivors in the United States would suffer long-term repercussions, which might place pressure on the healthcare system for years to come and reduce life expectancy.
According to him, “what truly concerns me is that some of these disorders are chronic in nature and will actually scar individuals for the rest of their lives.” In other words, “it’s not like you’ll wake up tomorrow and find yourself no longer suffering from heart failure.”