The COVID-19 crisis has injected a slew of words into our everyday vocabulary.
Unprecedented. Underlying. Co-morbidities.
Public and private discussions of the novel coronavirus upending our lives often circle around to what we’re learning about our vulnerability to it, which can be heightened by existing health issues.
Arrhythmias – or irregular heart rhythms – are increasingly being linked to COVID-19 as a
complicating factor, sometimes as a result of the disease that can lead to a poorer outcome for a person who may not have been diagnosed with a rhythm problem before. In patients who are already managing some kind of abnormal heartbeat—for example, atrial fibrillation (AFib) , which causes the heart to pump inefficiently — contracting the virus puts an added burden on the entire body by allowing fluid to build up in other organs.
All the more reason to do all we can to keep our heart beat on a steady, even tempo.
Many heart rhythm irregularities are benign, and some people don’t notice when their heart beats too fast, too slowly, or too early. Many arrhythmias are discovered during a routine examination. Others may sense a racing or fluttering feeling or even pain in the chest, and/or fainting, dizziness, lightheadedness or even sudden weakness.
The paradox across the range of possible arrhythmias is that some people with no noticeable symptoms may still be suffering from a heart rhythm abnormality serious enough to spike their risk for stroke and heart failure, while others experiencing clear symptoms may not have a severe arrhythmia.