COVID patients suffering from a heart condition: Countries worldwide deal with long COVID or viral symptoms that affect people after recovering from the initial infection. While this is a concern, the health leaders are more worried about its effects on the cardiovascular well being of victims. It makes them vulnerable to severe heart problems and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).
COVID patients suffering from a heart condition:
Although it is still early to estimate the total number of people reporting long COVID symptoms worldwide, a non-peer-reviewed study suggested that 43% of people suffered from COVID in August 2021. Over half the population who needed hospital admissions developed long virus symptoms. One of clinical medicine’s 2021 surveys also talked about complications caused by long COVID that potentially increased morbidity and fatality rate in patients and impacted their life quality.
- Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
The medical fraternity has coined it as a dysautonomic phenomenon that attacks the autonomic nervous system of our body. Due to this, critical functions like heartbeat, respiration, and digestion get disturbed. POTS can also cause neurocardiogenic syncope or “multiple system atrophy,” some rare and fatal conditions.
A POTS patient can experience a drop in blood pressure when they change their positions after sitting or standing up for a long. The symptoms vary, ranging from lightheadedness when getting up from a couch to tachycardia (faster heart rate), breathing difficulty, etc. Because the symptoms are too diverse and exist in other diseases, the actual disorder commonly remains elusive.
Most physicians interpret the signs as anxiety disorder due to increased heart rate and heartbeats. Still, a 2022 study involving Cells hinted that low platelet count could be one reason – something that tends to be responsible for bruising, anemia, bleeding in the nose, etc. Chronic inflammation can be another contributor.
- POTS & COVID
Right now, it’s unclear how many people are going for this treatment after COVID compared to those who sought help with it before the pre-pandemic times. Most people are learning about this syndrome due to prolonged SARS-CoV-2 infections while it has been there before also. Before the outbreak, almost one to three million Americans had this health condition, as per Dysautonomia International’s data.
However, there is unanimity that the long COVID-led POTS cases have sharply increased. According to Karolinska University Hospital’s Dr. Fedorowski, the number of POTS patients has shot up by twofold or threefold since the onset of the viral infection.
- Candidates at risk of POTS
Interestingly, the disorder has had a different impact on different demographics, considering its prevalence in the pre and post-pandemic era. More precisely, researches show that POTS was common among teens and youths in their early 20s before the outbreak. The trend suggests that young females with long COVID seem most susceptible to the disease. But most long COVID patients belong to the age group from 30 to 50. Dr. Fedorowski feels women suffer from this condition due to higher stress levels caused by gender bias at home or the workplace.
He said their viral infection resulting in POTS could be attributable to the fact that they constantly juggle different duties, such as childcare, family health, professional career, societal pressure, etc. The early days of the pandemic disproportionately affected women due to children’s responsibilities and stay-at-home rules. Career-oriented females had felt most challenged. Putting things into perspective, even a 2020 survey by MyBioSource revealed that about 45% of Americans considered COVID 19 the biggest concern.
- POTS treatment options
The health leaders inform that there are no cures for this type of heart problem, but one can access medical assistance to manage their symptoms. Behavioral changes, lifestyle improvements, physical therapies, and medicines can be helpful. Because the condition marks low blood pressure, keeping oneself well-hydrated and increasing salt intake slightly for blood pressure can be effective. Some recommend salt pills. A diet of refined carbs and heavy meals may not be too good. So, it’s better to avoid such items. However, many people complain of migraine problems, especially if they have been upright the entire day.
Other efficient measures include favorable postural changes to avoid fainting and pre-syncope. Exercises can also feature on your to-do list, but starting with low-intensity ones is better for POTS patients. The focus should be on poses or activities that involve horizontal positions. These are crucial points to remember because some people tend to be intolerant to exercising, thus increasing their risk of feeling dizzy, nauseous, and short breathed.
Scientists are studying the issue of long-COVID-led POTS and how they can treat it. Some expect there will soon be targeted medicines to address the health concerns that remained unresolved for far too long. While that’s a positive sign, people should keep themselves safe from coronavirus infection as much as possible. Vaccination has been one robust tool in this fight against the ongoing pandemic. Wearing a high filtration mask and following relevant rules applicable to one’s state are advised. COVID patients suffering from a heart condition, COVID patients suffering from a heart condition, COVID patients suffering from a heart condition.