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Hyderabad: Three successive waves of Covid-19 in the last two years has given a clear indication that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has the potential to inflict damage to the heart, even leading to cardiovascular disease of different categories.

Long-term and observational studies in Hyderabad and many countries worldwide have suggested that individuals are at substantial risk of heart attacks, after recovering from Covid-19, irrespective of the severity of the illness.

The incidence of heart diseases in India was already high. Now, after the Covid pandemic, we are seeing a further increase in cases of heart attack, blood clots in lung arteries called pulmonary embolism and heart failure, says senior cardiologist Dr K Pramod Kumar, Yashoda Hospitals, Somajiguda.

Dr Pramod, a key member among the group of personal physicians of Chief Minister, K Chandrashekhar Rao, attributes the rise of such heart episodes to altered immunity due to Covid infection, side effects of certain vaccines, psychological stress due to Covid pandemic, the culture of working from home and lack of exercise.

The rise in heart episodes among Covid-recovered individuals is a worldwide phenomenon. A recent long-term study by researchers from Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, US, on 1.5 lakh individuals with Covid-19, published in science journal Nature this February suggested that “beyond the first 30 days after infection, individuals with Covid-19 are at increased risk of incident cardiovascular disease including cerebrovascular disorders, dysrhythmias, ischemic and non-ischemic heart disease, pericarditis, myocarditis, heart failure and thromboembolic disease”.

“After nearly two years of social isolation during the Covid pandemic, now people are coming out into open in large numbers. Sudden resumption of regular activities and work stress may be another contributor for such a rise in heart diseases,” Dr Pramod points out.

The long-term study of Covid infections in US has suggested that “the risk and burden of cardiovascular diseases were even evident among individuals who were not hospitalised during the acute phase of the infection. Our results provide evidence that the risk and one-year burden of cardiovascular disease in survivors of acute Covid -19 are substantial”.

Post-Covid, it is clear that there is a definite need for attention to cardiovascular health and disease. It is important for people to get routine health check, especially for incident diabetes, hypertension and ensure optimal control among patients who already have these diseases, Dr Pramod, added.
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Need for attention
1. Irrespective of severity, Covid has the potential to trigger cardiovascular diseases
2. Post-Covid, cases of heart attack, blood clots in lung arteries, and heart failure on the rise in Hyderabad

3. Preventive therapies like control of sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight much needed
4. Regular aerobic exercises and smoking cessation

5. Tracking cardiovascular heal

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Author: Howard Caldwell