How heart health affects COVID-19 symptoms

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — February is National Heart Month, a time to increase awareness about heart disease, the number one killer of Americans.

Studies show COVID-19 symptoms can negatively impact your cardiovascular system in certain individuals.

Experts say some patients who have recovered from COVID-19 have shown signs of heart damage, even weeks or months after feeling better.

According to cardiologist at SouthCoast Health Roy D. Flood, Jr., M.D., FACC, it’s a common misconception that lung health is the main factor that determines how much a patient will struggle with coronavirus symptoms.

He says it mostly depends on your cardiovascular health.

“COVID can have a variety of impacts on heart health,” Flood said. “It can exacerbate heart rhythm problems, it can make blood pressure more difficult to control, and it can be a big factor in the development of clots to the arteries in the heart and cause heart attacks.”

Hear more from Dr. Flood below:

He says it’s important now more than ever to be aware of your risk factors and family history.

“Make sure you know where you stand pre-COVID with your cardiovascular health. So I would say two to three times per year, you should be getting screened, evaluated, re-evaluated, medications adjusted, labs checked, etcetera.”

“It’s one body, one system,” Flood added. “COVID causes an inflammatory response, and that inflammatory response affects all systems.”

Flood advises anyone who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to schedule an appointment, especially if you have pre-existing cardiovascular conditions.

“The benefits of being protected against COVID greatly override any concerns about muscle aches, short-term fevers, chills, etcetera,” Flood said. “So I am a strong proponent of getting the vaccine.”