What Does COVID-19 Do to the Cardiovascular System
Whilst COVID-19 is by definition a respiratory disease, as we have learnt more about the virus it has become apparent that it can cause a number of COVID related heart complications.
Some individuals experience high heart rates whilst others are battling with COVID related heart palpitations.
How COVID-19 Affects the Heart
According to an article published by the British Heart Foundation, it is thought that the symptoms some patients experience are linked to damage of the endothelial cells which is caused by the virus.
A healthy blood supply is crucial to the function of the human body and thus, any complications with this can cause various issues, such as, blood clotting, reduced blood flow and leaky vessels.
Complications related to the heart caused by COVID-19 include:
- Heart rhythm disturbances
- Inflammation of the heart muscle and lining
- Blood clots
- Lack of oxygen and nutrients causing heart damage
- Takotsubo syndrome
Heart Rhythm Disturbances
Heart palpitations are commonly reported from those infected with COVID-19, with the virus sometimes causing the heart rate to beat irregularly or faster than normal. An increased pulse rate for a person with COVID-19 is often associated with the body’s reaction to fighting an infection, as it works harder to pump the blood around the body or to fight the infection itself.
It has been reported that even after an individual is no longer infected with COVID-19, they can still suffer with heart palpitations and an increased pulse rate – both of which are signs of long COVID.
Inflammation of the Heart Muscle and Lining
Following extensive monitoring and research, experts believe that inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) and heart lining (pericarditis) is a result of the body’s immune system overreacting to the COVID-19 infection. However, initially there was concern that the virus was directly attacking the heart’s muscle cells.
Most commonly, individuals don’t display symptoms of a mild heart injury, nevertheless, in some cases they do. It’s important to seek medical advice if you have shortness of breath, an abnormal heart rate or chest pain, as they can be symptoms of a minor heart injury.
Blood clots can be incredibly serious for individuals as they can cause heart attacks, strokes, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms if developed in the lungs.
Those who are infected with COVID-19, are at a higher risk of developing a blood clot which is believed to be due to the body fighting the infection or a direct result of contracting the virus.
Lack of Oxygen and Nutrients Causing Heart Damage
Fevers and inflammation brought on by COVID-19 can place extra pressure on the heart, due to the body fighting the infection. Additionally, some individuals experience an irregular or sped up heart rate.
In some instances, if the infection is severe enough, damage can be caused to the lungs. Furthermore, The body’s response can cause clots in the blood vessels leading to a reduced amount of oxygen as well as nutrients to the heart.
Combining the added strain on the heart with the lack of oxygen and nutrients, it’s possible that damage can be caused to the heart muscle.
Often referred to as “broken heart syndrome”, Takotsubo is when the heart is weakened by the left ventricle changing shape rapidly whilst becoming larger in size. This weakens the heart so it’s less able to pump blood around the body.
This relatively rare type of heart disease usually corrects itself and typically, is a result of an emotional or stressful occurrence. However, during the pandemic there has been an increasing number of people who have been diagnosed with Takotsubo syndrome.
How To Reduce Covid-19 Risk Indoors
To reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 in enclosed spaces, you can invest in a state-of-the-art air purification unit with our sister company, cleanmyair.co.uk.
Access to Lifesaving Equipment from Defib Machines
Ensure you’re prepared and ready to act in case an individual suffers from a cardiac arrest by investing in one of our industry leading AEDs.
Our team can arrange an introductory session to educate you on how best to use the lifesaving device. For additional information, please contact a member of our team on 0800 085 2733 or alternatively, complete our online form to request a call back.