New Delhi: Even mild cases of COVID-19 can have long-term harmful impacts on cardiovascular health, a study has warned. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, is the first to compare pre and post COVID-infection levels of arterial stiffness; a marker associated with the ageing and function of our arteries. Researchers found that in individuals diagnosed with mild COVID-19, artery and central cardiovascular function were affected by the disease two to three months after infection.
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Side effects include stiffer and more dysfunctional arteries that could lead to cardiovascular disease development, they said. Study co-author, Maria Perissiou from the University of Portsmouth in the UK, said,
We were surprised to observe such a decline in vascular health, which deteriorated even further with time since COVID-19 infection. 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.
Emerging evidence suggests that this phenomenon stems from COVID-19 triggering the auto-immune process that leads to vasculature deterioration, the researchers said. While COVID-19 has been associated with a type of acute heart failure and vascular dysfunction, the long-term consequences of the disease on vascular health still need to be explored, they said.
As many as 32 participants in the study were monitored between October 2019 and April 2022 at the University of Split School of Medicine, Croatia. Most were young, less than 40-years-old, and healthy. Only 9 per cent of the group had high blood pressure, and none had high cholesterol. Two were diabetic, and 78 per cent did not smoke. The group was also almost an even split between males (56 per cent) and females (44 per cent).
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 remains as to whether this harmful effect is irreversible or permanent, and if not, for how long it lasts, Professor Ana Jeroncic from the University of Split, who led the study, said.
The study, while small, does support the prediction amongst vascular physiologists that there will be an increase in cardiovascular disease in the future as a result of COVID-19 infections, the researchers said. However, it needs to be taken into consideration what other variables would have contributed to this increase, they said.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.