Updated: Feb 17
COVID-19 is a disease with immediate, short-term, and long-term health implications. Several reports have proved COVID-19 to be a severe respiratory disease sending people to ICU and with several known and unknown impacts on virtually every organ system, including gastrointestinal, endocrine, and cardiovascular. Some of the primary mechanisms of COVID-19's immediate impacts are unraveling. However, understanding the exact molecular mechanism for 'long covid' seems to be a long way away.
COVID-19 viral infections cause generalized inflammation and put increased pressure on the cardiovascular system leading to adverse health outcomes. By analyzing several health records, examining patient tissue, and analyzing viral genomes to understand how SARS-CoV-2 affects the cardiovascular system, scientists learned that SARS-CoV-2 is unique in the level of risk it poses to the heart by causing severe inflammation. Although inconclusive at this point, several studies involving autopsies and biopsies of the heart muscle and stem cell models also demonstrated that the coronavirus could injure the heart both directly and indirectly. Similarly, the intense 'cytokine storm' during COVID-19 infection leads to a 'hypercoagulable state,' increasing the risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.