Effects of Coronavirus on Heart Patients | Aakash Healthcare

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Effects of Coronavirus on Heart Patients

In this unimaginable time, the entire world in limbo, medical facilities stretched to the hilt and frontline workers (medical and non medical) are putting their lives on the line each day, they go out to battle the common enemy: Coronavirus (Covid-19). The world today, naturally, is taken in and has taken up one common task; breaking and eliminating the line of coronavirus transmission in societies accords the world and healthcare professionals across many countries are reportedly unable to provide ample attention and care to those patients who are not suffering due to coronavirus. This article will seek to provide a few points on what you should know, if you or anyone else has preexisting cardiovascular issues and how coronavirus poses certain, increased risks owing to the same.

The first question anybody with any cardiovascular complications will ask “Am I more likely to contract the virus because of my condition?” The answer is simply “No” as the virus does not discriminate and has infected people across the spectrum of earth. The theoretical proposition for those with heart diseases in case they get coronavirus: they will most likely display and experience much more severe symptoms in case they are infected.

It is still unclear whether there will be a higher risk of death as the virus kills via chest infection/pneumonia in its final stage and only a fraction of those infected actually lose their lives to the virus. The other milder, more common symptoms of coronavirus are likely to be experienced similarly by people who have cardiovascular disease.

In case someone gets the virus, they might want to know, if the virus will infect them with more severe and serious symptoms as compared to those who were otherwise healthy prior to contracting COVID-19. Again, the virus is infecting indiscriminately via droplets in the air or on surfaces, transmitted by coughing, sneezing or talking in close proximity. If a person gets coronavirus, the first thing it attacks is the lungs , setting of an inflammatory response that can stress the cardiovascular system of the body. First, the oxygen levels in the body will

naturally fall when infected with a respiratory disease and then, the inflammatory nature of COVID-19 will cause a drop in blood pressure. Naturally the heart will have to beat and pump harder In both scenarios in order to supply oxygen to the body. This can become serious in cases with cardiovascular issues. Other groups susceptible to lower lung function include those patients who have undergone an organ transplant, those receiving chemotherapy, those with concomitant leukaemia or lymphoma suffering  heart diseases are theoretically at the highest risk of contracting coronavirus on heart patients and succumbing to the same. The elderly are most susceptible and this is even more so in the case of elderly people with cardiovascular disease. The same applies to pregnant women. Patients with serious heart problems like heart failure, dilated cardiomyopathy; to name a few, are at highest risk.

Another pertinent question that should be asked is whether Coronavirus infection can cause heart attacks and the like.  The first thing to be recalled is the inflammatory character of coronavirus; it has been propounded that the virus could rupture atherosclerotic plaque (deposited fatty acids in coronary arteries) which could cause severe coronary syndromes, such as a heart attack. If an infected person experiences chest pains or any discomfort, they should immediately contact healthcare experts and most probably get admitted into a hospital for further inspection. In case of very severe inflammatory problems, arrhythmia may be aggravated or atrial fibrillation triggered; this can affect the heart. The best way to fight coronavirus is by self-isolation and following proper hygiene protocols.

Can other diseases like diabetes or hypertension coupled with heart issues lead to more risk and higher mortality?

Evidence provided by reports from coronavirus wards in Wuhan Province has shed some light on this: a rather significant portion of those who died had pre-existent comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension. One explanation is that both diabetes and hypertension are fairly common among people aged over sixty and the elderly are at highest risk from coronavirus. This is just based on numbers from China and the study still remains unsubstantiated, like most studies on COVID-19 as of now.

Finally, are people with cardiovascular issues more likely to die if they contract coronavirus?

This is again “No”. The disease infects without discrimination and the severity of symptoms are subject to the individual more than anything else . Many heart patients who contracted the virus have fully recovered and are now healthy and immune.

People with or without any disease or condition, all people alike; should follow all guidelines provided and maintain social distancing in order to avoid contracting coronavirus, this is the only and best advice available at the moment.

Dr. Ashish Agarwal
Senior Consultant & HOD

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