COVID-19 and your heart
The short-term effects of COVID-19 – from no symptoms to serious illness, or worse – are well established. Now, those impacted by the virus are turning their attention to how it can impact our hearts and health in the years ahead. Gundersen Interventional Cardiologist Warangkana Chokesuwattanaskul, MD, FACC, answers your questions.
How can COVID-19 impact the heart?
Patients who had COVID-19 may experience mild impacts like abnormal heart rhythms to serious conditions, such as heart disease. We’re still trying to determine whether the impacts are caused by the virus itself or secondary systemic inflammation. It is challenging to identify who is at risk for heart complications besides those who have a pre-existing heart disease.
I had COVID-19 and I’m worried it impacted my heart. What should I do?
You should call your doctor if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in your legs, irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, dizzy spells or faintness.
What is being studied or done to explore the effects of COVID-19 and the heart?
Researchers worldwide are exploring the effects of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system by studying patients impacted by the virus and those who died after diagnosis.
What else should I keep in mind to protect my heart – and overall health?
Continue to distance, mask and wash your hands. Eat well, drink water, exercise and vaccinate yourself against COVID-19 as soon as you are able. If you have an underlying heart disease, continue your regular cardiology follow-up appointments.