When to Worry: Seeking Medical Attention for COVID-Related Heart Palpitations

Did you know, many COVID survivors experience heart palpitations? It occurs when you feel like your heart is racing, pounding, flopping, fluttering, or even skipping a beat. It may even feel like it’s in your chest, throat, or neck. It can happen at any time and many conditions can cause heart palpitations. So, you need to seek medical help to ensure your heart is healthy. Learn how COVID affects your heart and when you seek medical attention for COVID-related heart palpitations in this article.

How does COVID affect your heart?

COVID is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system, however, some patients after COVID experience symptoms of heart problems like shortness of breath, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, etc. While experts don’t exactly know how COVID affects your heart they believe several factors may be caused by COVID-19 that affect your heart, including:

  1. Lack of oxygen:

Coronavirus causes inflammation and fluid to fill up the air sacs in the lungs, lowering the oxygen amount in the bloodstream. To cover up for oxygen, your heart needs to work harder to pump blood through the body, which can be dangerous in people who are already suffering from preexisting heart disease. Over time, your heart can fail due to insufficient oxygen causing cell death and tissue damage in the heart and other organs.

  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscles):

Coronavirus may directly infect or damage your heart’s muscle tissue directly, as it also contains other viral infection strains like the flu. The heart may also get damaged or inflamed indirectly due to the body’s immune system response.

Coronavirus can also affect the inner surfaces of veins and arteries, which causes vessel inflammation, damage to very small vessels, and blood clots, all these factors can affect the blood flow to the heart or other parts of the body. Severe COVID-19 can also affect endothelial cells, which make the lining of the blood vessels.

  • Stress cardiomyopathy:

Viral infections can cause cardiomyopathy, which is a heart muscle disorder that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. This occurs when a virus attacks your body, it undergoes stress and releases a huge amount of chemicals called catecholamines, which can stun the heart. This also means when your infection resolves, the stressor will end, and the heart will recover.

When to see a doctor for COVID-related heart palpitations?

Most people with COVID-19 recover fully within days or weeks after getting infected, however, some suffer from post-COVID symptoms long after.

One of the common symptoms that post-COVID patients experience is rapid heartbeat or palpitations, which is also a sign of heart problems as well. So, if you are experiencing heart palpitations, then seek medical help. It’s also possible that it may occur due to physical exertion or emotional stress. However, according to the American Heart Association, a growing number of studies show that many COVID-19 survivors experience some type of heart damage after COVID-19 diagnosis, and they experience symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Leg swelling

Is heart damage caused by COVID-19 permanent?

Well, it depends. If your symptoms of heart damage occur due to cardiac causes, then recovery depends on the severity of the injury. In rare cases, people experience a severe heart attack such as an acute myocardial infarction due to COVID-19.

However, heart imaging reveals minor changes in the heart muscle of some COVID-19 survivors. For example, it is shown in some studies that athletes who recover from the coronavirus have some scarring, but these results were not compared with people who are healthy and aren’t infected.

Experts don’t know how long these minor changes affect your heart health. But to counter it, experts are developing protocols and recommendations for athletes to develop cardiac testing before returning to play.

COVID-19 may also affect your heart pumping strength but those minor abnormalities in heart pumping are not likely to cause problems.

So, to make sure you recover from COVID-19 you can use physical therapy, breathing exercises, or a combination of both. You need to give yourself time to recover from COVID-19, so avoid expecting a rapid return to your normal daily activity levels.

Who’s at risk for life-threatening heart palpitations?

If you have any of these factors, then you’re at risk of heart palpitation:

  • 65 years of age or older.
  • Had a heart attack or underlying heart condition.
  • Have a congenital heart condition.
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight or obesity.
  • Heavy alcohol use.
  • Use stimulant drugs like meth amphetamines or cocaine.

COVID-19-related heart palpitations usually occur as post-symptoms that affect your heart. Experts don’t know exactly how it happens but they believe certain factors are responsible for it. Even some studies show that minor changes occur in COVID survivors. So, if you’re experiencing heart palpitations or some other symptoms accompanied by heart palpitations then seek medical attention.

Doral Health and Wellness has several urgent care clinics around New York that can cater to your family’s medical needs. We also have the best medical providers, physicians and staff that are highly trained in their respective specialties. To know more about the locations of our urgent care clinics, you can visit us at Doral Health and Wellness. If you are looking for urgent care near you, you can visit Doral Health and Wellness Urgent Care. We provide urgent care for common illnesses and injuries. Additionally, we also provide comprehensive care for any related injuries and health problems. We also offer other services, such as vaccinations, immunizations, and blood testing. For more info, visit us or call 1-347-384-5690.

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