Novel coronavirus disease, officially named COVID-19, has infected thousands of people across the globe. Although, many patients recover successfully disease has also caused thousands of deaths, and the numbers keep growing every day. Underlying health conditions put patients at a higher risk of complications and death. In this post, we explore the link between myocarditis and COVID-19.
What is Myocarditis?
Myocarditis is defined as the inflammation of the heart muscle or myocardium. Since myocarditis can affect the heart muscle and its electrical system, it decreases the heart’s ability to pump. As a result, rapid or abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia occurs. The exact cause of myocarditis is unknown, but various factors are involved, including viruses.
Many viruses are associated with myocarditis. Including those that lead to the common cold, hepatitis B and C, parvovirus, and herpes simplex virus.
The figures show that the incidence of myocarditis is 1.5 million cases a year worldwide. According to estimates, the incidence of myocarditis is between 10 to 20 cases per 100,000 people. However, the exact prevalence and incidence are still unknown, as the condition is underdiagnosed. Some estimates show that 1% to 5% of all patients with acute viral infections may involve myocardium.
COVID-19 Deaths and Health Problems
At the moment of writing this post, the real-time counter showed 11,352 deaths from COVID-19 since the outbreak has started. The number keeps changing by the hour. The greatest risk of complications and death due to COVID-19 is among the elderly people and those who have underlying health conditions.
Reports say that 99% of coronavirus patients who died in Italy suffered from other, preexisting health issues. Nearly half of COVID-19 victims suffered from high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes. More precisely, 75% of people who died from COVID-19 had hypertension, 35% diabetes, and 33% of them had heart disease.
People with cardiovascular disease have a 10% higher risk of death due to COVID-19 than healthy patients.
That’s exactly why people with underlying health conditions should protect themselves and take self-isolation rules seriously.
Acute Myocarditis and COVID-19 Interaction
At this point, not much is known about the true extent of acute myocarditis prevalence in coronavirus deaths. However, it is evident this problem is widely present.
Reports state that coronavirus infection can lead to cardiovascular complications and worsen preexisting cardiovascular disease.
For patients who develop a severe respiratory infection due to COVID-19 myocardial injury is likely to develop. This is particularly the case in instances when the virus-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome too. Doctors who worked with coronavirus disease patients confirm that acute myocarditis is yet another complication patients encounter.
The inflammatory response and hemodynamic changes caused by COVID-19 put patients at a higher risk of plaque rupture.
This could explain why acute myocarditis contributes to deaths in coronavirus. Also, arrhythmias are prevalent in patients with COVID-19. Especially in men and women whose symptoms are so severe, they need to stay in the ICU.
Although myocarditis might be one manifestation of coronavirus disease, some specimens show no direct virus infiltration of the myocardium. However, it is important to emphasize that a considerable number of COVID-19 patients have elevated troponin, which indicates the presence of myocardial injury. This subject requires further research in order to get a deeper insight into the correlation between heart health and COVID-19. Including research about how underlying disease makes the virus more complicated, but also how virus leads to heart damage.
It is important to mention that some antiviral agents currently tested for COVID-19 could interact with cardiovascular medications or induce cardiac effects.
Myocarditis is a complicated problem that occurs either by direct infiltration of the virus, or it can be secondary to severe hypoxia, and the “cytokine storm” developed in response to systemic infection.
How to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus Complications
Novel coronavirus disease keeps spreading across the globe. People with an underlying health condition are at a higher risk of developing complications. The risk of death is also higher in men and women with heart disease and other conditions. If you are one of them you should:
- Governments of affected countries issue various measures aimed to protect people from developing COVID-19. Make sure to take these measures seriously.
- You should also wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water.
- Maintain social distancing, and stay home.
- If you have some heart problems, take your medications regularly.
- You may also want to monitor your blood pressure and heart as well.
Importance of Heart Monitoring
Regular heart monitoring can signalize about changes in your heart which highly impact your overall health condition and endurance. Daily heart monitoring increases the opportunity to timely detect upcoming problems and act before it is too late.
Luckily, those times are passed when the only way how to do that was in the doctor’s office. Now with UPOlife solutions, you can simply do it on your own, any time, anywhere. Without leaving your home into coronavirus. After monitoring you and your doctor can draw the lines between things you do and your heart wellbeing. Thereby, making changes in your medicine, nutrition, physical activities, and other important things.
Acute myocarditis has been observed by doctors who treated patients with COVID-19. It could occur due to the infiltration of the virus or because of secondary reactions. However, it is highly important to carry out further studies on myocarditis and COVID-19. The relationship between heart problems and coronavirus disease is complex, and it looks like it could be a two-way street.
As soon as you notice symptoms associated with COVID-19, contact the epidemiologists who will give you guidance on how to behave. Also, take necessary measures to deal with the case and test to confirm whether you’re infected. To protect yourself and loved ones, stay home, and avoid going outside whenever you can. If you do need to go out, make sure you’re protected and maintain social distancing.