February is Cardiovascular “Heart” Awareness Month and every year, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) utilizes this time of the year to raise awareness about heart health! The institute urges Americans to reduce their risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. This year, it is even more vital than ever, as having Heart Disease can pose a higher risk of severity of COVID-19 symptoms and disease.
What is Heart Disease?
The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart ailments. The most common type of heart disease in the United States is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart and inevitably the remaining of the body’s organs. Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack with reduced oxygen and inevitably a severe cardiac malfunction.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
– High Blood Pressure
– High Cholesterol
– Increased or high Alcohol Use
– Diabetes (Type I or II)
– Unhealthy Diet and Physical Inactivity
Symptoms of Heart Disease
Sometimes Heart Disease may be “silent” and not diagnosed until a person experiences signs or symptoms of a Heart Attack, Heart Failure, or an Arrhythmia. When these events happen, symptoms may include:
– Heart Attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
– Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations).
– Heart Failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins.
What does COVID-19 do to the Heart?
We’re still learning about the long-term effects of COVID-19 on our bodies. Studies are being done across the world. COVID-19 is a virus that primarily attacks the lungs. However, it can also cause your body to produce an overactive immune response which can lead to increased inflammation throughout the body and in turn affecting the heart directly. Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) can impair the heart’s ability to pump blood and send electrical signals. Severe forms of Myocarditis can lead to more serious problems like abnormal heart rhythms, heart muscle disease, and heart failure.
Although more research needs to be done to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the heart, we do know COVID-19 affects the heart in two ways:
1. It can directly cause myocarditis and blood clots
2. It can indirectly affect the heart by making existing heart conditions worse, leading to heart attacks, stroke, or sudden cardiac death
Quality Health Care Concierge takes the health and well-being of our clients very seriously! We are here to provide education, information, resources to remain healthy, and mostly our support!