Heart Problems After Covid
For people who have had COVID-19, lingering COVID-19 heart problems can complicate their recovery.
Some of the symptoms common in coronavirus long-haulers, such as palpitations, dizziness, chest pain and shortness of breath, may be due to heart problems or, just from having been ill with COVID-19. How do you tell if your symptoms are heart-related, and what can you expect if they are?
Cardiologist Wendy Post, M.D., clarifies which post-coronavirus symptoms may point to a heart issue, when to call your doctor, and other facts all long-term COVID-19 survivors should know.
Atrial Or Supraventricular Tachycardia
Atrial or supraventricular tachycardia is a fast heart rate that starts in the upper chambers of the heart. Some forms of this particular tachycardia are paroxysmal atrial tachycardia or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia .
With atrial or supraventricular tachycardia, electrical signals in the hearts upper chambers fire abnormally. This interferes with electrical impulses coming from the sinoatrial node, the hearts natural pacemaker.
The disruption results in a faster than normal heart rate. This rapid heartbeat keeps the hearts chambers from filling completely between contractions, which compromises blood flow to the rest of the body.
A profile for atrial or SVT
In general, those most likely to have atrial or supraventricular tachycardia are:
- Women, to a greater degree than men
- Anxious young people
In extreme cases, those suffering with atrial or SVT may also experience:
Treatment for Atrial or SVT
If you have atrial or SVT, its possible that you wont need treatment.
But if the episodes are prolonged, or recur often, your doctor may recommend treatment, including:
- Some medicinal and street drugs
Other, less common causes may include:
Approach to treatment
What Are Heart Palpitations
Most of the time you wont notice your heartbeat, but if you suddenly become aware of it, this may concern you or come as a surprise. The feeling of being aware of your heart beating is described as a palpitation.
Palpitations can range from simply being aware of your hearts activity to the sensation of it beating faster and harder than usual. It can sometimes feel like your heart is missing beats or you have a heart flutter.
Changes to your heartbeat are usually not serious. But always see your doctor if you have palpitations or feel you have an irregular heart beat.
Dial triple zero if you have heart palpitations along with these symptoms:
- severe shortness of breath
- fainting or blackouts
Also Check: Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Fatigue
Can I Experience Heart Palpitations During Panic Attacks
The startle effect releases substances in the body such as adrenaline which cause the heart rate to increase and the heart to beat more vigorously, creating a sensation of panic, heart pounding and heart racing. This is the experience of becoming aware of a natural or normal functioning of the nervous system. Anxiety, panic, and startling cause the adrenaline level to rise and create the sensation of palpitation.
Heart Palpitations: Frequently Asked Questions
The symptoms of palpitations vary from patient to patient with some common features.
A perception of irregularity of the pulse, an uneasiness in the chest, a flip-flopping in the chest frequently people describe their palpitations as “my heart stops.” Certainly a feeling of strong pulse throughout the chest, head, and neck could well be described as a palpitation.
Occasionally palpitations can be perceived in unusual ways including a general sense of uneasiness, and, rarely, palpitations are associated with lightheadedness or even loss of consciousness.
You May Like: Fatigue Sore Muscles And Joints
How Are Heart Palpitations Diagnosed
Your doctor will talk to you about how the palpitations start , how long they last, how often they happen and any other symptoms you may have and your family history.
They may send you for further testing, including an electrocardiogram to measure your hearts electrical activity. This may be done by wearing a Holter monitor, a device that you wear for 24 hours while going about your normal activities.
Is Your Racing Heart A Sign Of Supraventricular Tachycardia
Approximately 2 in every 1,000 people have SVT, a type of arrhythmia that can often be cured. Learn more about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
If youve ever experienced a sudden racing heartbeat, you know how unsettling the feeling can be.
While there are many potential causes of a fast heartbeat, one of the more common forms is supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT.
SVT symptoms heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness can be alarming, but the condition is usually treatable and can often be cured, says Michigan Medicine electrophysiologist Rakesh Latchamsetty, M.D.
First, he says, the type of arrhythmia responsible for the symptoms needs to be determined since different arrhythmias can be treated very differently and some can be more serious than others.
A person experiencing a rapid heartbeat should consult with their physician, and anyone experiencing unrelenting palpitations or severe symptoms should be seen in the emergency room, says Latchamsetty.
You May Like: What To Do For Chronic Fatigue
What Do Heart Palpitations Feel Like
Heart palpitations can occur once in a while or regularly. Some people even experience heart palpitations all day. They may vary in strength too. Some people have mild flutters and others have them so strong that they feel like a heart attack. The sensation can be different from person to person too. Some people experience a pounding heart rate, others feel as if their heart is flipping, fluttering, skipping a beat. Sometimes they can be a pounding in the chest or neck and other times they may just manifest as a general feeling of unease.
This variability shows just how worrying this symptom can be. Fortunately, most palpitations are caused by a harmless, momentary interruption in the hearts rhythm. But others can be a signal for more serious problems in the heart or elsewhere.
Can I Prevent Heart Palpitations At Night
You may not be able to prevent heart palpitations at night, but you can lower your risk. You should:
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, especially before bed. If you smoke, talk to your provider about a plan to quit smoking.
- Dont eat a big meal right before you go to bed.
- Get treatment for anxiety or depression. Talk to your provider about antidepressant medication and therapy.
- Take steps to reduce stress on a daily basis. Try meditation, yoga, diaphragmatic breathing and other relaxation techniques.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you carry extra weight or have obesity, ask your provider about a weight loss plan.
Recommended Reading: Mega Comfort Anti Fatigue Insoles
Treatment Of Cardiac Arrhythmia
Treatment is often required if the arrhythmia causes significant symptoms putting the patients at risk of a more serious arrhythmia or arrhythmia complications. However, treatment of cardiac arrhythmia may vary among individuals, depending on type of arrhythmia and its severity as well as each patients condition.
When To See A Doctor
“Generally, if someone is not feeling well and has excessive fatigue or decreased exercise capacity with an elevated heart rate, they should consider scheduling an appointment with their doctor,” Dr. Doshi says.
You may also want to see your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above in addition to burping and a fast heart rate. Be sure to contact your doctor with any additional questions.
Also Check: Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Fatigue
What Are The Possible Causes
Tachycardia is usually caused by anything that creates a problem with the electrical impulses, which control rate of the pumping action of the heart. There are multiple things that can disrupt the electrical system of the heart. Some of these are:
- Damage to tissues of the heart due to heart disease
- Congenital disease or abnormality of heart
- Electrical pathways that are not normal and present in the heart at birth
- Low or high blood pressure
- Sudden stress, for instance fright
- Drinking excessive caffeine containing beverages
- Side effects of medicines
- Recreational drug abuse, such as cocaine
- Electrolyte imbalance
In certain cases, the cause of sudden increase in heart rate cant exactly be found.
The risk of getting tachycardia is increased by any condition, which strains the heart or causes damage to the tissues of the heart. Medical treatment or lifestyle changes may lower the risk that is increased by the below mentioned factors:
- High blood pressure
- Underactive or overactive thyroid gland
- Use of drugs of recreation
Certain other factors, which may raise your risk of getting tachycardia, are:
- Older age: Elderly are at an increased risk of getting tachycardia due to wear and tear of the heart related to age.
- Family: Positive family history of heart rhythm disorders and tachycardia in particular increases your risk.
Could Heart Palpitations Accompanied By Shortness Of Breath Be Serious
Heart palpitations can certainly be associated with shortness of breath, that is, the two symptoms together without a serious condition being present. That usually indicates that the irregularity of the heart rhythm is significant and may signal the need for a more comprehensive evaluation.
In general, the more serious the symptoms, such as lightheadedness, loss of consciousness, chest pain, shortness of breath, the more seriously one needs to take the problem.
If a patient has known heart disease such as a previous myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure , hypertrophic cardiomyopathy , and others, the symptoms of palpitations will require a thorough evaluation.
Don’t Miss: Shortness Of Breath And Muscle Fatigue
How Svt Is Diagnosed
SVT is typically diagnosed with an electrocardiogram, or EKG, when a patient is experiencing the fast heart rhythm.
Ideally, the episode would be captured in the emergency room on an EKG, says Latchamsetty. Otherwise, a patient may be given a heart rate monitor to wear as an outpatient until an episode is recorded and correctly diagnosed.
To terminate an acute episode of SVT, some patients find success through one of several patient-initiated vagal maneuvers simple exercises to activate the vagus nerve, which can help reset the hearts rhythm.
Vagal maneuvers that might allow you to slow your heart rate include holding your breath and bearing down, coughing or immersing your face in cold water, says Latchamsetty.
Urgent Advice: Call 999 If:
You have sudden chest pain that:
- spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
- makes your chest feel tight or heavy
- also started with shortness of breath, sweating and feeling or being sick
- lasts more than 15 minutes
You could be having a heart attack. Call 999 immediately as you need immediate treatment in hospital.
Also Check: Causes Of Exhaustion And Fatigue
Fatigue And Irregular Heartbeat
- Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Reviewed on 12/14/2020
Irregular heartbeat is often a sign of heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation. Fatigue occurs with a wide variety of conditions and illnesses. Keep track of your symptoms and when they occur. Contact your doctor to discuss these or any worrisome symptoms.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Heart Palpitations At Night
Your provider will ask about your symptoms and listen to your heart. They may recommend a blood test to look for anemia or infection. A blood test can also show signs of a vitamin deficiency or a problem with your thyroid.
To monitor your heart rate, they may do an electrocardiogram . This test measures your heart rate using sensors that attach to your skin. They may ask you to lie down during the test, which usually takes about 15 minutes.
Many times, an EKG doesnt detect heart palpitations. You might not have an irregular heartbeat during the test. If this happens, your provider may recommend an ambulatory electrocardiogram such as a Holter monitor. You wear this device for up to a week as you go about your daily activities. It records your heart rate and stores the information for your provider to review.
Also Check: Post Stroke Fatigue Years Later
How Do I Manage Heart Palpitations At Night
Most of the time, heart palpitations at night dont require treatment, especially if they only happen occasionally. You may be able to relieve heart palpitations at night yourself. If your heart is racing at night, you should:
- Breathe deeply: Try pursed lip breathing techniques, which involve long, deep breaths. You can also meditate and try other relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
- Drink a glass of water: If youre dehydrated, your heart has to work harder to pump blood.
- Roll over or get up and walk around: A change of position might be all you need to relieve heart palpitations. Try rolling over in bed, sitting up or going for a short walk around the room while taking deep breaths.
If a health condition is causing palpitations, your provider will treat the condition. Treatments vary depending on the cause. Sometimes, providers prescribe a type of medicine called beta blockers to treat palpitations. These medications slow the heart rate and reduce palpitations.
Shortness Of Breath Or Chest Pain After Covid
Shortness of Breath
You want to consult a doctor if any of your symptoms are severe, especially shortness of breath, Post says. She recommends using a commercially available O2 saturation monitor.
Shortness of breath by itself is not always a sign of a serious problem, but if you have that symptom along with low O2 , that is a reason to be concerned. Sometimes people are short of breath with exertion after COVID-19 because they have been less active for a long time and need to gradually build their fitness level back up.
COVID-19 Chest Pain
What about lingering chest pain, another common post-COVID complaint? Chest pain may be nothing serious, but if you are having severe chest pain, get help, especially if it is persistent or if you are also having nausea, shortness of breath or lightheadedness: These could be symptoms of a heart attack.
If you have chest pain when you inhale, you might have lung inflammation. Sudden, severe chest pain could be a blood clot in the lung , Post says.
Family doctor or cardiologist?
If your symptoms are not severe but you want to be checked out, Post says a cardiologist doesnt need to be your first stop if youve never had heart problems before and are not at risk. For nonemergency post-COVID-19 symptoms, your primary care practitioner can advise you, she says.
Heart Failure and COVID-19
- Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
- Shortness of breath when lying down
- Leg swelling
- Frequent urination at night
Recommended Reading: Is Extreme Fatigue A Sign Of Menopause
Other Methods Of Reducing Heart Rate Fears
It’s can be challenging to directly control your heart rate. But you can control the way that you react to it. One helpful coping strategy is to exercise. Being physically active actually lowers your general resting heart rate in the long term, but in such cases your heart becomes much more efficient overall. Exercise is also a great-way of combating anxiety. With exercise, therefore, you’ll be less likely to have a slowed pulse thats anxiety related and you can be more confident that your low resting heart-rate is actually a sign of your physical health, rather than any possible problem.
Seeing a doctor is obviously a good idea as well. Ruling out the most likely medical causes of a low heart rate may not calm you down completely – especially if you still struggle with anxiety – but it may well give you some peace of mind that your low heart rate is not related to any medical concerns.
Beyond that, try to stop searching on the net for ways to make sense of your low heart rate. Online, you’ll find countless explanations for a low heart rate and you may convince yourself that you’re suffering from a more serious issue, even if youre medically healthy and well.
Finally, learn to control your overall anxiety. The less anxiety you experience, the less you’ll focus on your heart. The less time you spend worrying about your heart, the less likely you are to experience a low heart rate as a result of anxiety.
Was this article helpful?
Can Irregular Heartbeat Cause Fatigue
irregular heartbeatcanheart ratesymptomstiredness
. Considering this, how serious is an irregular heart beat?
An arrhythmia describes an irregular heartbeat the heart may beat too fast, too slowly, too early, or irregularly. Many heart arrhythmias are harmless however, if they are particularly abnormal, or result from a weak or damaged heart, arrhythmias can cause serious and even potentially fatal symptoms.
Likewise, what is the best treatment for irregular heartbeat?
- Antiarrhythmic drugs. These drugs control heart rate and include beta-blockers.
- Anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy. These drugs reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke. These include warfarin or aspirin.
In this regard, do heart palpitations make you tired?
Heart palpitations on their own are not a sign of heart failure instead, they are just one of many symptoms that can occur. Some patients experiencing heart failure may not even experience palpitations at all. According to the American Heart Association, some of the most common symptoms include: Fatigue.
Does atrial fibrillation cause fatigue?
When AFib causes heart failure, fluid in the lungs can cause fatigue and shortness of breath. Oxygen-rich blood is not being delivered to the body and brain, causing physical and mental fatigue and reduced stamina.
Read Also: Best Diet For Chronic Fatigue