Up to 30% rise in heart-related risks post Covid infection: Health experts

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New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS): With Covid-19 infection, there has been a 25-30 per cent rise in the frequency of heart attacks and heart failure, health experts warned on Monday.

According to cardiologists at the Sarvodaya Hospital in Faridabad, they have seen a significant surge in cases of heart attack and heart failure in the post-Covid period. The incidence has gone up by more than one-fourth in the last one year.

“After the pandemic, the incidence of heart attacks and heart failure has increased by 25-30 per cent in people who got infected with Covid. Patients, who had to be hospitalised or put on a ventilator due to Covid-19, are now much more vulnerable to heart complications, and we see a considerable surge in such cases,” said L.K. Jha, Associate Director-Cardiology at the hospital.

According to doctors, there are two ways by which Covid-19 affects the heart.

“First is a direct infection of the heart muscle, due to which it gets weakened, leading to heart failure. The second is that after Covid-19, a mild form of the infection persists in the body for many months. The arteries remain inflamed, leading to the tendency of clotting inside the heart. This results in heart attack and other complications,” Jha said.

Many incidents have come to light in recent months of a sudden heart attack in people, including celebrities, after doing vigorous exercise.

“In these cases, the heart muscle may still be inflamed due to long Covid, triggering a heart attack,” he said.

The doctor also said that people who had a severe form of Covid-19 need to take precautions.

According to the expert, it is difficult to predict heart problems in recovered Covid patients. But there are blood tests that measure inflammatory markers like ESR and High-sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hs-CRP).

These tests can tell whether any form of infection still exists in the body and how much the risk is.

“It is advisable not to do any vigorous exercise for the next six months after getting a Covid infection. Only light exercises like brisk walking or mild jogging are OK. Don’t indulge in strength training exercises like the weight-lifting or extreme treadmill because your heart may still be weak,” Jha said.

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