NEW DELHI: A persistent Covid infection for a longer period of time, even though mild, may affect and has the potential to increase the incidents of heart attacks and brain strokes in patients, according to the top health experts on Monday.
According to Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, a study found an increase of 60 per cent in the incidents of heart-related issues and neurological disorders.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Seth said, "There is a large data from the west, which has noticed that over a period of a year and more than a hundreds and thousands of patients study, there was a 60 per cent increase in the incidents of heart attacks or even strokes compared to the normal population at the same period of time. So we are very clear Covid, even though mild, may affect people for a longer duration up to a year and create increased incidents of heart attacks and strokes."
"We know that Covid itself in the acute phases causes increased incidences of strokes related to clotting, inflammation of the arteries also increased incidents of clots in the brain, causing strokes and clots in the lungs. But we are concerned about long-term effects also.
It is true that those with serious Covid have worse one-year outcomes, but even those with mild Covid can get an increased incidence of heart attacks," he added. The expert asked the people not to ignore the symptoms if they arise and said that it is important to get a checkup done by a doctor.
"The first important step is that all Covid patients should not ignore the symptoms. Even if, you've recovered from mild Covid, which means that if you feel breathless if you feel chest pain if you feel discomfort or palpitations, it's important to get a checkup," he said.
Dr Setha further stressed that people with pre-existing diseases must get their checkups done regarding the functioning of their hearts. "Secondly, we say that those who with multiple risk factors have Covid, who's known to have pre-existing heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, its important for them to understand to get a check-up done like ECG, Eco cardiogram which tells about the functioning of the heart and ECG tells about any palpitations," he said.
"Thirdly, for those who want to get back to active life or those who are exercising prior to covid and say that they are recovered. We always say get a heart checkup done and do mild to moderate level of exercise in a graded manner over the next three months before getting back to a full physical heavy exercise schedule," the doctor added.
Dr Padma Srivastava, Professor and Sr neurologist, AIIMS, Delhi said that Covid has evolved to be not just a disease of lungs but also a multisystem over a period of time involving brain and the nervous system.
"In these two years we have learnt that Covid is not a disease of just lungs, it involves multisystem. Therefore, it's involving the brain and the nervous system. We also now know that there is a definitive entity called long Covid which means there are features which are coming up, persisting after Covid infection in three months. There is extensive research which is going on, all over the world," she said.
"If I really have to break it down, then we have during Covid, there is infection, inflammation, there is the involvement of reasons more than one of the brain, nervous system, muscles and peripheral central nervous system. In the brain, there are immediate acute situations in which what you are talking about a brain attack or a stroke and then we have brain getting inflamed during Covid," Dr Srivastava added.
The expert informed that research on these aspects is underway. "The research is going on into these very aspects that later on over few years after a covid infection are these people getting dementia? Will they develop Parkinson's features to that extent? There is multi-centric huge research which is happening at this point of time," she said.