Who has been infected with the Omicron variant is at risk heart attack or stroke: there are new American studies on vascular problems and the Long Covid. The researchers used data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a basis to estimate how often Covid leads to cardiovascular problems.
The research led to the discovery that people who contracted the virus had increased risks for 20 cardiovascular conditions in the year following infection. Not only that: according to the researchers, these complications, even the most serious ones such as stroke and heart attack, can also occur in people who seem to have completely recovered from a mild infection.
Omicron, that’s why those who have been infected risk heart attack and stroke according to new American studies
But How is the heart damaged by Long Covid? Covid’s effect on the heart could be related to the key protein the virus uses to enter cells. The virus binds to a protein called ACE2, which is found on the surface of dozens of human cell types. According to Ziyad Al-Aly, epidemiologist of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, this allows the virus to have access to all cells in the body. Cardiovascular problems likely begin when the virus enters the endothelial cells that line blood vessels.
As the body clears the infection, blood clots form to heal the damage caused by the virus. These clots can clog blood vessels, causing minor damage such as the pain in the legs or serious like a heart attack. A study based on over 500,000 cases found that people who had been infected had a risk greater than 167% of developing a blood clot in the two weeks following infection compared to people who have had the flu.
Robert Harrington, cardiologist of Stanford University in California, says that even after the initial infection, plaques can build up where the immune response has damaged the lining of the blood vessels, causing the vessels to narrow. This can lead to problems, even serious ones like heart attacks and strokes, months after the initial wound heals. Harrington explains, whose words are taken from the Messenger: “Those first complications can certainly translate into later complications”.
Omicron alarm, not just heart attack risk: “the symptoms can last a lifetime”
Doctors reported Covid-related cardiovascular problems during the pandemic, but concerns increased after study results of the Department of Veterans Affairs data were published in early 2022.
Ziyad Al-Aly’s analysis is based on comparing more than 150,000 people recovered from acute Covid with their uninfected peers, as well as a pre-pandemic control group. People who had been admitted to the ICU with acute infections had a drastically higher risk of cardiovascular problems during the following year. In particular, for some conditions, such as swelling of the heart and blood clots in the lungs, the risk is increased at least 20 times that of uninfected peers. But the risk was also increased for people who had not been hospitalized: from an 8% increase in the rate of heart attacks to a 247% increase in the rate of heart inflammation.
To continue study the long-term effects of Covid in the United States, a study called Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery, or RECOVER, project is being organized. The goal is to follow 60,000 people for up to 4 years in more than 200 sites in the US. The study will include participants with Long Covid, people who have been infected and have recovered, and others who have never been infected. Children and pregnant people will also be included in the study. The cardiologist Stuart Katswho works at New York University, is the lead researcher on the project and said that “It is recording for the duration of its life”.
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Omicron, alarm for new symptoms: this is why those who have been infected risk heart attack and stroke
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