SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. It is spread via small droplets from the nose and mouth, and from touching infected surfaces.
As of posting date, we know that at least 80 percent of people who are infected with the virus can have no symptoms, mild symptoms or moderate symptoms, including a fever and cough. The remaining 20 percent may develop more severe cases of coronavirus.
The COVID-19 infection causes a high level of inflammation that triggers an extra strong immune response. This response is more than what is needed for this virus and causes hyper inflammation and blood clots. The blood clots can lead to stroke and heart attacks even in young and healthy people.
COVID -19 contributes to irregular heartbeats, inflammation of the heart (and the lining of the heart), reduced blood flow to the heart, stroke, blood clotting and cardiac death. Some COVID-19 survivors, who were otherwise healthy, have developed blood vessel injuries, blood clots, arrhythmia, heart failure, myocarditis, strokes and heart attacks even without having severe disease or being hospitalized due to the coronavirus.
Patients with heart disease, heart disease risk factors, diabetes and obesity are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 and related hospitalization and death.
If you experience these symptoms after you’ve had COVID-19, contact your doctor.
Watch the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for up-to-date COVID-19 information.
Making small lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your heart health. Here are heart healthy tips from the National Jewish Health Cardiology Team.
1. Quit smoking
This is the single most important lifestyle change you can make to reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and lung cancer. We can help you quit.
2. Watch salt intake
Limit sodium to 2000 mg a day (1500 mg if you have high blood pressure) to decrease blood pressure.
3. Exercise consistently
Brisk walking about 20-30 minutes a day improves heart health, immunity, mood, cognitive abilities and bone density.
4. Eat plants
Eating more fruits and vegetables can improve cholesterol, blood pressure and sodium levels. Having all the needed nutrients in your body supports health including immune system health.
5. Work on mindfulness
Using deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, prayer and other ways to connect your mind and body, helps reduce stress and improve heart health.
6. Drink water
Avoid sugar sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages. The perfect beverage for human consumption is water. Consume enough to keep your urine clear to light yellow, unless otherwise directed by a physician.
This information was reviewed by Glenn Hirsch, MD, Andrew Freeman, MD, and Christopher Dyke, MD (September 2020)
Learn more about COVID-19 and how it affects specific health conditions in these printable patient education materials.
Download COVID-19 Materials