Studies have suggested how Covid survivors continue to grapple with the risk of heart failure, blood clots and other cardiac ailments, even after a year of their recovery from the infection. Research shows that some 10-30% of coronavirus infected people may develop long-term symptoms and these Covid survivors were 63% more likely to have a heart attack and 52% a stroke than other people. People who have recently recovered from Covid thus need to make appropriate lifestyle changes, take medications prescribed by their doctor and do yoga and light exercises to ward off risk of any heart complication. (Also read: Heart failure vs heart attack; know the difference from experts)
Dr Subash Chandra, Chairman & HOD - Cardiology, BLK-Max Heart Centre, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi says Covid survivors have a higher risk of heart failure, irregular heart rhythm, blood clot and inflammatory disorders such as pericarditis and myocarditis.
"The problem is that traditional medical exams for diagnosing heart problems like ECG, Echocardiography and other tests of the heart often reveal no abnormality," says Dr Chandra. The cardiologist however says it is possible to prevent heart trouble in Covid survivors by following certain physical mental health tips.
Simple breathing exercises like Diaphragmatic breathing Kapaal Bhati is a good way to improve oxygen levels.
"Anulom Vilom improves lungs' capacity to oxygen blood. Chronic fatigue syndrome and post-exercise malaise is a warning against undertaking a very rigorous exercise regime soon after Covid recovery. Hence going slow to resume exercise is the best way to avoid a serious outcome," says Dr Chandra.
The right exercises
"Sitting, aerobic and strength exercises mean returning to exercise at a very slow pace. Recumbent exercise to start with before returning to standing exercises is the way to go like start cycling with monitored heart rhythm and vitals," says the cardiologist.
Walking and upright aerobic exercises like treadmill, walking stairs, and counting steps to 5000 per day are helpful.
"Home monitoring of heart rate, oxygen level, and blood pressure while performing exercise ensures you remain safe while exercising," says the cardiologist sharing tips on exercising safely post recovering from Covid.
Medicines and supplements
Medicines depending on the individual's heart risk like aspirin for clots, statins for cholesterol, Beta Blockers for fast heartbeats or calcium blockers for hypertension, and anti-diabetic medicines must be taken regularly.
"Lifestyle changes like slow build-up of exercise after Covid recovery go a long way in ensuring safety and avoiding the catastrophic outcomes," concludes Dr Chandra.