Covid-19 and Heart Health
What does it mean for cardiovascular patients to catch the COVID-19 pandemic?
Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of loss of life in our country and in the world. COVID-19 is a new disease that the world met about 1 year ago and unfortunately causes a pandemic. The combination of two common and life-threatening diseases, one old and the other new creates a high risk for patients and can even be fatal.
What organs does COVID-19 infection affect other than the lungs?
The COVID-19 virus is not limited to the lungs but also affects other organs. This is medically called “systemic involvement”. For example; Even the thyroid gland secretes hormones that are affected by this virus. In this context, the heart and vessels are among the most targeted organs.
How does the COVID-19 virus affect heart health and blood vessels?
The effects of the COVID-19 virus on the heart health and vessels can be listed as follows:
• COVID-19 causes pneumonia in the lungs. When the lung tissue is affected is significant, oxygenation of the blood is impaired. The low level of oxygen in the blood tires the heart. In this case, the workload of the heart increases, a heart attack can be triggered and it can lead to the development of heart failure.
• One of the well-known effects of COVID-19 infection is that it triggers clot formation within the vein, both in the veins and arteries. The clot formed in the vein may progress to the lungs and cause the pulmonary vessel to be blocked by the clot. This condition is called pulmonary embolism. If the clot that blocks the lung vein is large, it can be life-threatening. Clot formation in the artery can result in a heart attack.
• COVID-19 virus can directly cause an inflammatory condition in the heart muscle. In this condition called myocarditis, the contraction force of the heart muscle deteriorates and heart failure may develop.
• Heart rhythm disturbances can be seen due to the COVID-19 virus. Disturbances in the electrical system of the heart may occur as a result of the decrease in oxygen in the blood, the formation of clots in the blood vessels, and the involvement of the heart muscle with the virus.
What should people with cardiovascular disease pay attention to nowadays, when the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing again?
During the pandemic process, the things that cardiovascular patients should pay attention to are:
• During the epidemic process, cardiovascular patients should continue the same medication they are currently taking. Based on some sensations, they should not stop taking their medication. For example; Drugs are given for high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and cholesterol should be used regularly in this process.
• Another point to be careful about is not staying still. When there is a ban on going out, they should exercise at home for 30-60 minutes daily. Exercise is very beneficial in terms of heart health, general health, and psychological relaxation. It also has an immune system boosting effect. For these reasons, it should not be forgotten that exercise provides versatile protection against the virus.
• Increasing the time spent at home can bring along weight gain. Care should be taken to maintain the ideal weight during this period.
• The formula “4 GOOD” should be applied. So; It should be well-rested, well-fed, well-hydrated, and well thought out. At this point, if we need to open the title of good thinking; Psychological problems caused by the pandemic can cause a fall in the fight against COVID-19. Because the anxiety and stress experienced suppress the immune system. When under stress, the heart rate rises and blood pressure fluctuates. Cardiovascular health is adversely affected by this situation. Considering all these effects, unnecessary stress should be avoided.
Should cardiovascular patients refrain from going to the hospital during the pandemic?
Cardiovascular patients should not hesitate to apply to a cardiologist and hospital when they have important complaints such as chest pain, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, palpitations. Even though our country and the whole world are going through the COVID-19 pandemic process, the leading cause of loss of life in the world is still cardiovascular diseases. For this reason, heart health should not be neglected during the pandemic period.