• Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Even mild Covid infection can have detrimental effects on heart health: Study

The study is the first to compare pre and post Covid-infection levels of arterial stiffness which is a marker associated with the ageing and function of our arteries



Image Credit: iStock

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

A recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, warns that even mild cases of Covid-19 can have long-term harmful impacts on cardiovascular health.

The study is the first to compare pre and post-Covid-infection levels of arterial stiffness which is a marker associated with the ageing and function of our arteries.

The findings reveal that individuals with mild Covid-19 experience a decline in artery and central cardiovascular function two to three months after being infected by the disease.

This decline can cause stiffer and more dysfunctional arteries, potentially leading to the development of cardiovascular disease.

“We were surprised to observe such a decline in vascular health, which deteriorated even further with time since Covid-19 infection,” stated Maria Perissiou, study co-author from the University of Portsmouth in the UK.

“Usually, you would expect inflammation to decrease with time after infection, and for all the physiological functions to go back to normal or a healthy level,” Perissiou said.

According to the researchers, emerging evidence suggests that Covid-19 may trigger an auto-immune process that leads to vasculature deterioration.

Although Covid-19 has been linked to acute heart failure and vascular dysfunction, the long-term impact of the disease on vascular health remains to be explored.

The study, conducted at the University of Split School of Medicine in Croatia, monitored 32 participants between October 2019 and April 2022, most of whom were young, healthy, and under 40 years old.

The study, led by Professor Ana Jeroncic found that only 9 per cent of the participants had high blood pressure, while none had high cholesterol.

Two individuals were diabetic, and the majority (78 per cent) did not smoke. The group was almost evenly divided between males (56 per cent) and females (44 per cent).

Professor Jeroncic stated that, “Given the number of people infected with Covid-19 worldwide, the fact that infection can have harmful effects on cardiovascular health in young people who had a mild form of the disease warrants close monitoring”.

The question of whether the detrimental effect of Covid-19 on cardiovascular health is reversible or permanent, and for how long it persists, was raised by Jeroncic.

The researchers also noted that although the study was small, it does align with the prediction among vascular physiologists that there will be a surge in cardiovascular disease cases in the future due to Covid-19 infections.

However, they emphasised that other contributing factors must also be considered.

(With inputs from PTI)


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