“All chronic pain, suffering and diseases are caused by a lack of oxygen at the cell level.”
Today in COVID-19 scenario, we remember this quote of Dr. Arthur C. Guyton, M.D. born in 1919, and the author of the most reputed “The Textbook of Medical Physiology.” From our school days we are aware of the importance of oxygen in maintaining the vital functions, and the role the lungs and the heart play in supplying this OXYGEN, the life-giver to the living body.
We all know that Coronavirus attacks the respiratory system and causes immense damage to the lungs. Now clinicians have come to realize that COVID-19 is not just the respiratory system disease. The practitioners found that many patients suffering from COVID infection had raised levels of TROPONIN, a marker of heart muscle damage. Cardiologists look for the raised levels of TROPONIN when they suspect heart damage, as the first sign of heart damage is high troponin in blood. With high troponin, abnormal ECGs, the echocardiograms suggested the functional abnormalities in many patients’ hearts. COVID-19 patients requiring hospital admissions showed heart injury. These observations suggest that COVID-19 has a dire impact on heart health as it attacks the heart directly.
Recent studies have firmly established the link between COVID-19 and heart disease. A study published in the Oxford Journal has revealed that nearly 50% of people hospitalized with severe COVID-19 have shown evidence of heart damage months after recovering from the disease.
COVID-19 infection triggers inflammation in the body that may lead to weakening the heart muscle, abnormal heart rhythm and may result in clot formation in blood vessels. Second, the virus may directly invade receptor cells, known as ACE2 receptors, within the heart tissue and cause direct viral harm. These complications, such as myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, could lead to an increase in heart failure overtime. And unfortunately, for patients with pre-existing heart diseases, this can result in worsening of the heart condition and also, the rise of different heart ailments.
Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle doesn't pump blood. Certain conditions, such as narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, gradually leave your heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump efficiently. This is a chronic condition and it gradually gets worse. Medications and therapy can help a patient live longer and better with it. However, heart failure can be fatal depending on the severity of the condition.
Heart failure manifests as:
- Tiredness and weakness
- Swelling in the legs, ankles and feet
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Persistent cough
- Increased need to urinate
- Very rapid weight gain from fluid retention
- Lack of appetite and nausea
Take care of your heart by following:
Following heart-healthy life-style changes are worth incorporating for healthy heart.
- Eating Healthy: Healthy food habits to keep and maintain healthy weight results in overall promotion of overall health and especially, healthy heart.
- Exercise Daily: Exercises help the heart muscle become more efficient in pumping blood throughout the body which means that with each beat, the heart pumps out more blood and keeps the blood pressure in control. High blood pressure is a cause of risk for heart diseases. Hence, a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily is crucial for your heart’s health.
- Sleep well: People who don’t get good quality and enough sleep are at a higher risk of heart disease. Getting good quality sleep is important for a healthy heart. With better sleep, heart gets better, healthier.
- Build up good cholesterol: High level of HDL (good cholesterol) can lower the risk of stroke and heart diseases. Including ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, nuts, avocado etc. in your diet can help prevent heart diseases.
- Stay away from stress: The stress puts undue pressure on heart and blood vessels. Stress leads to high levels of cortisol which can increase blood cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and triglycerides. All these are the risk factors of heart diseases. So, it is better to stay away from stress as much as possible.
- LASTLY, don’t forget to include grapes in your food intake. Eating grapes decreases cholesterol levels which may help prevent heart attacks and strokes, a new study suggests. Grapes are rich source of polyphenols, which are not only good for heart health but polyphenols help renew the lungs, as well, offering healthy benefits in heart and lung diseases.
In nutshell, lifestyle-modifications are very essential for improving the overall health and especially of the lungs and heart. Not only that, but the very same modifications also boost immunity and protect against viral infections.