COVID-19 is normally associated with the lungs and respiratory system. Most people think of symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath when they think of Covid-19. However, Covid-19 can impact the whole body and cause a wide range of symptoms and complications.
Stroke, a condition of the vascular system, is among the most common complications in people hospitalized with severe COVID-19. This has led many researchers to question whether COVID-19 is a vascular disease with respiratory symptoms.
Like so much about COVID-19, we’re still not 100% sure of the answer to this question. However, the latest research shows that the vascular symptoms of COVID-19 are caused by inflammation, not COVID-19.
This means that COVID-19 is still considered a respiratory disease, but it can have serious effects on the vascular system. Keep reading to learn more.
Health professionals and researchers have been studying the link between COVID-19 and vascular symptoms since the start of the pandemic. They learned that people with severe COVID-19 are at risk for stroke, blood clots and other vascular complications.
These observations led to several hypotheses that COVID-19 was a vascular disease with respiratory symptoms and not a respiratory disease.
Instead, these studies found that strokes and other vascular complications occur when infected respiratory cells cause extreme inflammation in other parts of your body.
This means that the virus itself does not attack the wall of blood vessels; blood vessel damage comes from your immune system tries to attack these cells as they pass through your body. When your immune system overreacts to infected cells or your blood vessels were already weak or damaged,
Many people hospitalized with Covid-19 are at increased risk of vascular complications. Knowing that these complications are part of an inflammatory immune system response can help doctors reduce the risk of stroke and other serious vascular complications.
For example, people infected with SARS-CoV-2 who are at risk for vascular complications may be given blood thinners to help reduce their risk. Doctors, medical researchers and other professionals might also be looking for ways to reduce inflammation while helping the body fight COVID-19.
Understanding how COVID-19 affects the vascular system can also help researchers identify those most at risk for vascular complications, leading to targeted treatments and better outcomes.
Like many things related to Covid-19, more research into this connection still needs to be done.
COVID-19 is known to have both short-term and long-term symptoms and complications. Some of these symptoms are respiratory and sensory. For example, you may have read about people who lost their sense of smell for months after developing COVID-19.
There are also long-term complications and symptoms associated with the vascular symptom. Not everyone will have these symptoms, but their study was an important part of researchers understanding how COVID-19 affects the vascular system.
Long-term vascular complications of COVID-19 include:
In studies, heart failure and arrhythmias were the most common vascular complications of Covid-19. However, data on complications of COVID-19 are still very recent.
People who recovered from COVID-19 were only observed for a year or two. What we know about vascular and other complications may change in coming years as the first people to recover from COVID-19 are observed for longer.
Additionally, new COVID-19 treatments could dramatically change what complications for future SARS-CoV-2 infections look like.
Can COVID-19 damage organs?
Yes. COVID-19 can cause severe organ damage. Your lungs, liver, kidneys, brain, and heart can all be damaged by COVID-19.
Which organ is most commonly affected by COVID-19?
The lungs are the organs most affected by COVID-19. COVID-19 can irritate the lining of your lungs, cause your lungs to become inflamed, cause your lungs to fill with fluid, and damage the lining of your lungs.
Not everyone with COVID-19 will experience lung damage. For many people, COVID-19 presents as a mild respiratory infection, but severe COVID-19 can lead to organ damage and even death.
Is COVID-19 damaging your heart?
COVID-19 can damage several organs, including damage to your heart. People who have recovered from severe Covid-19 are at increased risk of heart complications. This indicates a strong link between COVID-19 and heart health.
Additionally, there is evidence that people who already have heart problems are at risk for more severe symptoms if they develop COVID-19.
Since the early days of the pandemic, researchers have noticed that a large number of people hospitalized with severe COVID-19 had strokes, blood clots and other vascular complications. This has led to theories and studies on the link between COVID-19 and the vascular system.
Currently, researchers believe that the immune system attacks infected respiratory cells as they travel through the rest of the body. This response can sometimes cause significant inflammation, damage the lining of your blood vessels, and lead to blood clots.
More research still needs to be done on this topic, but what we know now is already helping doctors reduce the risk of stroke and clots for people hospitalized with severe COVID-19.