Coronavirus Linked To Heart Disease, Says Study

Neha Ghosh

Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease is a respiratory illness that has affected 859,796 people and claimed 42, 341 deaths worldwide.

For individuals with underlying heart problems, the concerns are serious. According to the American Heart Association, people aged over 65 with coronary heart disease or hypertension are at an increased risk of getting infected with the virus and develop more severe symptoms.

Can Heart Disease Increase The Risk Of Coronavirus?

Coronavirus mainly affects the lungs, but when the lungs are not working properly, the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. This causes added stress on the heart. Furthermore, it can cause severe complications in heart disease patients if they get infected with the virus.

COVID-19 can cause severe heart complications, which includes weakening of the immune system and atherosclerosis and the heart becomes unable to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body.

As per the American College of Cardiology, 40 per cent of hospitalised coronavirus patients had cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease. And the fatality rate of COVID-19 patients with heart disease was 10.5 per cent.

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What Do The Studies Say?

According to a study review published in the JAMA Cardiology on 27 March 2020, coronavirus can affect people with underlying heart disease and cause cardiac injury even in patients without underlying heart disease, and this can have deadly consequences [1].

The virus can cause arrhythmias, acute coronary syndromes and heart failure. Also, heart complications due to COVD-19 will occur in patients showing severe symptoms because of the high inflammatory response associated with this illness.

Another 2006 study showed that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) may lead to heart complications. During the study, 121 patients diagnosed with SARS were assessed for pulse, blood pressure and temperature. The results were 61 patients had hypotension (low blood pressure) and 87 patients had tachycardia (rapid heartbeat that may be regular or irregular) [2].

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Common FAQs

Q. I have a heart condition, does it put me at an increased risk of coronavirus?

A. People who show mild symptoms of coronavirus usually make a full recovery. However, if you have a heart condition, you could get more ill if you contract the virus, which is why it's important to protect yourself.

Q. Which heart disease patients are more vulnerable to COVID-19?

A. If you recently had a heart transplant, if you are pregnant and have heart disease, you have heart disease and you are above 70, if you have heart valve disease, if you are recovering from recent open-heart surgery, and if you have congenital heart disease, you are more vulnerable. You should protect yourself by staying at home and minimise close contact with people.

Q. Can my blood pressure medications cause more severe COVID-19 infection?

A. The British Heart Foundation advises that people should continue their blood pressure medications prescribed by their doctor. Currently, there is no evidence that says that ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) increase the chances of severe COVID-19 infection.

Q. What should I do to prevent coronavirus?

A. If you are at a higher risk, you should follow the precautionary measures like staying at home, washing your hands with soap and water, exercising daily and eating a healthy diet.

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