Experts warn that after COVID-19, you should be on the lookout for these potential…

After Covid-19, Experts Say Watch For These Potential Heart And Brain Problems

Experts warn that after COVID-19, you should be on the lookout for these potential heart and brain disorders

Early on, COVID-19 was full of surprises, creating minor issues for some people and major challenges for others.

It could be just as erratic in the long run.

Even in those who had mild COVID-19, studies are detecting potential heart and brain abnormalities up to a year after infection with SARS-CoV-2.

Dr. José Biller, director of the COVID-19 neurology clinic at Loyola Medicine in Maywood, Illinois, described the long-term effects as “a multitude of symptoms affecting different organs.” “So, it might be the lungs, the cardiovascular system, the nerve system, mental health issues, or behavioral issues.”

The number of persons who may be affected is estimated to be in the millions. According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 causes mid- to long-term problems in 10% to 20% of adults.

COVID has harmed hundreds of millions of people, according to Dr. Siddharth Singh, director of the Smidt Heart Institute’s post-COVID-19 cardiology clinic at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Since the epidemic began in early 2020, nearly 80 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus.

There are many more questions than answers, such as who is most at risk for post-COVID complications and how long the effects may remain. Experts warn, however, that those who have had COVID-19 should be mindful of the following risks:

Stroke and heart disease

The risk of heart issues one year after COVID-19 infection is “significant,” according to a study published in Nature Medicine in February.

Heart disorders include irregular heartbeats, heart failure (the heart’s inability to pump blood adequately), coronary disease (a buildup of plaque in the arteries that restricts blood flow), heart attacks, and more.

Between March 1, 2020, and January 15, 2021, 153,760 U.S. veterans, the majority of whom were white and male, tested positive for COVID-19 and lived for at least 30 days. They were compared to a sample of over 5.6 million veterans who did not have COVID-19.

After accounting for pre-existing diseases, researchers discovered that those who carried COVID-19 were 63 percent more likely to develop a cardiovascular problem after a year, resulting in around 45 more instances per 1,000 persons.

Even persons who did not have significant COVID-19 had higher risks. Singh has witnessed the same thing at his post-COVID clinic, which started treating patients in December 2020. “We’ve encountered a lot of people with long-haul symptoms who had mild illnesses and were treated at home,” says the doctor.

Singh also sees a lot of people who have POTS, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which causes dizziness, fainting, and heart palpitations. “The majority of these palpitations occur while people are standing or sitting erect,” he explained.

“Smoldering inflammation around the heart or in the heart” might occur in rare situations, according to Singh.

The COVID-19 survivors had a 52 percent greater risk of stroke after a year, or around four more strokes per 1,000 people, according to the Nature Medicine study.

Problems with the brain

Almost three-quarters of the 113 patients in Biller’s extended COVID clinic complained of “brain fog.” “They are unable to multitask and have difficulty learning new abilities,” said Biller, who is also the chair of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine’s neurology department.

COVID-19-positive persons lost more grey matter and had more brain shrinkage than COVID-19-negative people, according to a recent Nature research of 785 people aged 51 to 81.

Mental well-being

A research published in February in BMJ employed the same pool of US veterans as the Nature Medicine study and discovered a 35 percent greater incidence of anxiety disorders following COVID-19, or 11 more cases per 1,000 people after one year, as compared to those who did not get COVID-19. There was a small increase in the risk of depression.

Researchers found that when persons who had COVID-19 compared to people who had the flu, the risk of mental health disorders was considerably higher with COVID-19.

“Mental health and cardiovascular health are inextricably linked,” Singh explained. If someone is anxious or depressed, they should get help “They’re not going to do a lot of exercise. They won’t follow their diets, manage their hypertension and other risk factors, and their sleep will be disrupted, affecting their cardiovascular health, among other things.”

Many COVID-19 survivors, he added, have unresolved sorrow, loss, and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which can contribute to mental health problems.


Patients at Biller’s post-COVID clinic frequently express “crushing” weariness. In a review of many papers published in August in Scientific Reports, fatigue was the most common post-COVID symptom reported.

What you can do to help

Even while the long-term hazards of possessing COVID-19 are substantial, Singh believes that most people should not be concerned. Instead, he believes this is a wonderful time to take action:

  • Make sure you look after yourself. “Earlier this year and last year, a lot of my family and friends got COVID,” Singh added. “What I’m telling them is to be a little more aware of their cardiovascular health and to ensure that their cardiovascular risk factors are under control. Obviously, if someone is experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations, they should seek medical attention immediately. “
  • Do you have any symptoms that aren’t going away? Consult a physician. It can take anywhere from two to six weeks to fully recover from an illness, Singh explained. “It’s wise to get checked out” if people have persistent physical and mental problems for more than four to six weeks.
  • Pay attention to your sleeping patterns. According to a study, COVID-19 can cause sleep difficulties, which are linked to heart problems. “The value of a good night’s sleep cannot be overstated,” Singh remarked. If you’re having problems, it’s possible that you’ll need to consult a professional.
  • Keep yourself up to date. People will require reliable information as COVID-19 research continues to unravel its secrets. The CDC sends out updates on the coronavirus, and the National Library of Medicine has a lesson on how to look at health data.
  • Vaccinate yourself. COVID-The 19 vaccinations help to prevent infection and serious illness. “Prevention is important,” Biller said, even if it’s unclear whether vaccination affects long-term symptoms in people who suffer breakthrough infections.