While COVID-19 has moved from being a pandemic to an annual concern and treatment, like the yearly flu, it still poses a notable risk for those with heart conditions as well as older patients. Much of the problem that is particular to the heart has to do with how COVID causes inflammation throughout the body, particularly the critical organs. This inflammation is strong, intense on the body and concerning, especially in how it causes changes to how the blood vessels function and directly affects the circulatory system.
The Root of the Heart Risk
When the COVID virus gets into the body, one of the aspects it impacts involves the white blood cells that help fend off plaque in the arteries. The plaque causes the white blood cells, or macrophages, to swell, and they change into what is known as foam cells. When in the foam phase, they are particularly susceptible to the virus. Ironically, the body’s own defense system has become the problem here. Much of the related research on this issue concludes that the foam cells become the Achilles Heel, creating the physical blocking factor in the patient’s arteries.
Treatment Looks to Prevent COVIDs Advantage
Attacking the matter at a pharmaceutical and genetic level, treatment has been developed to change a cellular protein better as neuropilin. By changing how this protein worked, it could block the effects of the COVID infection as well as make it impossible for the virus to use the protein to get into the foam cell and take it over.
Without this change, the COVID virus can continue to keep attacking white blood cells that help reduce arterial plaque, and proof was found in the samples pulled from the arteries of patients who have passed away from COVID infections. In essence, the virus lodged itself into the arterial walls, basically spiking the risk of cardiac arrest and stroke exponentially.
Recognizing the COVID Angle
Dr. Ian Weisberg has regularly advised and treated patients with heart disease and related coronary risks, and COVID has proven to be one of the most recent issues contributing to heart problems. Especially in older patients who are already dealing with chronic health conditions or have a weakened immune system, COVID has wreaked havoc. The current version of COVID has spread faster but with less of an impact than the first novel version had. Vaccination has helped reduce its spread as well, including the impact of symptoms when an infection does occur. While every patient is a unique case in themselves, COVID remains a heart health factor that shouldn’t be ignored.