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American Heart Association News: After COVID-19, Experts Say Watch for These Potential Heart and Brain Problems

American Heart Association News recently interviewed cardiologist Siddharth Singh, MD, director of the Post COVID-19 Cardiology Clinic at the Smidt Heart Institute, about the potential impact of COVID-19 on the heart and mental health.

Research has shown that an estimated 10% to 20% of people have experienced mid- or long-term issues after recovering from COVID-19. That may sound small, but hundreds of millions of people around the world have had COVID-19, Singh told AHA News, so it is likely that millions are experiencing long-term symptoms.   

Patients run a substantial risk of developing heart problems such as irregular heartbeats, heart failure, coronary disease and heart attacks one year after a COVID-19 illness. At the same time, these patients face a high risk of developing depression and anxiety. Singh told AHA News that many COVID-19 survivors have unresolved pain, grief, and post-traumatic stress disorder, contributing to a decline in mental health.

"Mental health is closely tied to cardiovascular health," Singh told AHA News. "If someone is anxious or depressed, they’re not going to exercise that much. They’re not going to watch their diet, take control of their hypertension and other risk factors, their sleep is affected which can impact cardiovascular health." 

Singh encouraged patients to take proactive steps to limit the potential negative effects of long-term COVID-19:

  • Be vigilant about cardiovascular health and make sure cardiovascular risk factors are well-controlled.
  • See a doctor if physical and mental symptoms linger beyond four to six weeks after a COVID-19 illness.
  • See a specialist if sleep becomes an issue after recovering from COVID-19.
  • Stay informed about the latest post-COVID-19 research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Get vaccinated to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.

Click here to read the complete article from AHA News.