Stories of the Heart: Experts continue studies on how COVID-19 affects the heart

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Doctors nationwide are noticing some alarming trends, including myocarditis

(WYTV) – There are several ways COVID-19 can affect your heart, but it’s also a story that doctors continue to unravel because everyone is different and the pandemic is still evolving. Experts are seeing a connection though.

Tonight, to kick off our Stories of the Heart series, Anchor Lindsey Watson sat down virtually with an interventional cardiologist from Mercy Health in Youngstown to learn more.

As the COVID-19 pandemic develops and affects more people, doctors nationwide started noticing some alarming trends, including injury to the heart and inflammation, also known as myocarditis.

“It was thought that the virus affected the heart directly,” said Dr. Rami Kafa.

Dr. Kafa says more and more studies show COVID-19 doesn’t actually invade the heart.

AHA Response to COVID-19

“Except in a very small percentage of cases and it’s just a reaction to how sick the person is overall,” Dr. Kafa said.

We now know enough about the virus to say it will affect everyone differently. While most people will recover, others can experience symptoms long-term.

“Those patients, if they get over their respiratory illness, their lung issues from COVID, generally, their hearts tend to recover,” Dr. Kafa said.

Mercy Health continues to adapt to take care of patients hospitalized with the virus. Dr. Kafa calls it a balancing act.

AHA: How COVID-19 Affects the Heart

“Because either they had heart disease to begin with or they developed heart disease as a result of COVID,” Dr. Kafa said.

Experts know underlying heart disease can make COVID and recovery so much harder to get through. That’s why heart health is so important, especially now.

“You want to be as healthy as you are, God forbid if you catch COVID. You have to eat healthy, exercise, practice social distancing, obviously stay safe,” Dr. Kafa said.

AHA: What Heart Patients Should Know About COVID-19

And doctors want you to get your vaccinations.

“If you’re a candidate for the COVID vaccine, you gotta get it. If you’re a heart patient, it’s even more important that you get it,” Dr. Kafa said.

As part of National Heart Month, Watson is teaming up with the American Heart Association to bring you Stories of the Heart. It all leads up to Go Red for Women Day on Friday.

Tomorrow, Watson continues her series by highlighting a local survivor’s story.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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