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COVID-19 can damage heart and affect cardiac health permanently

SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory illness and primarily targets the lungs and heart of the infected. The scientists are still studying the long-term effects of COVID-19 on their health. However, some scientists have confirmed that COVID-19 can damage the heart and affect cardiac health permanently. While scientists and health experts are making every effort to understand and treat the dreaded disease better, recent studies have identified a few mechanisms as to why the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes heart damage. 

Research also showed that people with chronic health problems, including heart disease, are at greater risk from COVID-19 for serious illness. The study published in JAMA Cardiology, a peer-reviewed journal, found that as many as 78 percent of coronavirus patients tracked reported heart defects months after recovering from the disease. Researchers analyzed data from about 100 COVID-19 patients recovered between April and June 2020 from the University Hospital, Frankfurt’s Covid-19 registry. In 78 percent of COVID-19 patients, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated cardiac involvement, regardless of pre-existing conditions, the seriousness of the clinical course of the acute disease, and time from the original diagnosis.

How COVID-19 can damage the heart and its effects on cardiac health:

ACE-2 receptors:

A John Hopkins Medicine article, quoted by cardiologist Erin Michos, MD, MHS, claimed that coronavirus can harm the heart in various ways. Dr Michos clarified that the cells in the lungs and heart are filled with protein molecules called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE-2, which is the gateway used by the SARS-Cov-2 virus to penetrate and multiply cells. This means the coronavirus can directly infect cells in the cardiovascular system.

Underlying heart conditions:

In most cases, due to COVID-19, patients with pre-existing coronary artery disease are more likely to experience severe complications. For example, a study involving more than 72,000 patients with coronavirus found that there were cardiovascular comorbidities in about 22% of patients who succumbed to COVID-19.

Experimental Medications: 

New drugs used to treat COVID-19 have been shown to place patients at risk. With no particular COVID-19 drug or vaccine available, the doctors are experimenting with various therapies to treat the disease. A research conducted by Shuyang Zhang, a professor of cardiology at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing, China, found that certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antiviral drugs, and glucocorticoids administered to COVID-19 patients can worsen underlying heart problems that can have fatal consequences.

More research is needed to figure out exactly how COVID-19 affects the heart, in which patients are more likely to develop heart problems and what can be done to reduce the risk.

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