EXCLUSIVE: World Heart Day 2021: It is important to get your heart checked post COVID-19: Expert

Updated on Sep 29, 2021 10:49 PM IST  |  84.2K
   
Take care of your heart
Experts say it is important to get your heart checked post COVID-19
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Winning against COVID-19 was a battle that most of us will remember for our lives. And why not? After all, we earned our lives back from the deadly virus. However, COVID-19, even after recovery, didn’t fail to surprise people. It presented with post-COVID-19 complications that were severe enough to make you angst about why you caught the virus in the first place.

Hair loss, breathlessness, exhaustion, kidney failure, and heart attacks are all among the probable complications one may get post recovery.

On World Heart Day, experts emphasise on the fact that it is important that one should get their heart checked after recovery.

“Patients who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus need to get their hearts checked. It is imperative they do so because the heart is impacted greatly post COVID-19. The heart rate increases or decreases, there is alteration in the blood pressure, there may be clotting in the arteries, a situation known as thrombosis, and thirdly their heart muscles may have been weakened by the virus, which is called cardiomyopathy,” says Dr. Nishith Chandra, Director, International Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla Road, New Delhi.

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He adds that reports suggest that nearly 25 percent of people who have been affected by the virus have had damage in their hearts after recovery. “The virus enters our bodies through angiotensin converting enzyme – 2 (ACE-2) receptors and causes inflammation and other cardiac complications such as myocarditis and heart failure. Additionally, some reports have suggested that in 5 percent of patents, the virus has directly affected their hearts leading to its dysfunction and failure. While there have been situations where the problems settled themselves, it is important that patients go for regular heart checkups after recovery,” mentions Chandra.

However, COVID-19 is not the sole culprit that is increasing the chances of heart attacks, long working hours, anxiety, depression and stress are all killing machines.

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According to WHO, long working hours have led to almost 7,45,000 deaths caused by stroke and heart disease. As the pandemic took over our lives in 2020, heart problems have become a concern for us. Working professionals have started to work from home which means that they are spending prolonged hours in front of their screens. Nine percent of the total global population is working for longer durations today. This is dangerous as it puts them at risk of work-related disability and cardiac arrest,” explains Chandra.

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Moreover, work from home has increased stress levels leading to increase in hypertension which can also cause heart diseases. This further causes conditions like Diabetes and obesity. All the mentioned diseases have a direct link with heart diseases. “With work from home, work timings have also been altered wherein people work until late and across time zones in a world that is globally linked. This further results in unhealthy diets, inadequate sleep and a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, this makes us more prone to heart diseases,” adds Chandra.

However, we can avoid it by leading an active lifestyle and exercising regularly. “One must also ensure that they quit smoking and limit the consumption of alcohol. One must resort to consuming a healthy diet by lowering consumption of fats, salt, processed food, and fast food to ensure reduction in the rate of heart diseases. If someone has pre-existing heart diseases, or is a patient of diabetes, they must continue to monitor their health and take their medications regularly,” advises Chandra. 

Read Also: World Heart Day 2021: Look out for these warning signs of a heart attack

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