Covid-19 could break even a healthy heart, say doctors

a person wearing a mask: Covid-19 could break even a healthy heart, say doctors

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Covid-19 could break even a healthy heart, say doctors

Covid-19 can leave a person more susceptible to heart-related issues, no matter how young or fit he is, doctors have warned as they reiterated the need to take precautions.

Explaining the link between Covid-19 and cardiovascular disease (CVD) on World Heart Day on Tuesday, Dr Brajesh Mittal, interventional cardiologist at Medcare Hospital, Dubai, said: “When Covid-19 occurs, it affects the heart in two ways. At the time of infection, it can cause muscle damage and infection of the heart muscles directly.

“Or, it can indirectly affect the heart and other organs by releasing some pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which harm the linings of small blood vessels and induce clotting, making a patient prone to a heart attack in the future.”

Dr Mittal recently encountered a case of a 46-year-old sports enthusiast who had completely recovered from Covid-19 some two months ago. The man was healthy and in good shape but, suddenly, he suffered a massive heart attack.

“The patient, a physically fit Caucasian male, was a non-smoker and had no history of any other conventional risk factor for the heart disease such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity – but he contracted the virus a couple of months back and had recovered.

“However, the virus had damaged his arterial lining and had increased chances of clot formation on the damaged lining of the artery. So, while exercising, he developed a clot in his artery and suffered a heart attack.”

Surge in young heart patients

Another cardiologist agreed that the damage caused by the deadly virus could make a patient prone to heart attack.

Dr Jose John, cardiology specialist at LLH Hospital Musaffah, said: “We saw a surge in cases of heart complications on patients during the time of Covid infection, and we can attribute it to two factors: One is the increase in clotting in the body due to the inflammation caused by the virus; and second, due to the stress and anxiety caused by the virus among Covid patients and those who had recovered or whose family suffered from the disease.”

Stress and anxiety also trigger heart issues, Dr John said, as it can damage the interior walls of the arteries in the same way as the virus attack does.

“Lack of physical exercise, increase in consumption of processed food – especially during the stay-home period, work-related stress and increase in screen time were other factors that contribute to the recent surge of young patients with heart issues,” he added.

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