Covid warning as deadly side-effects can strike months after first diagnosis

People previously infected with Covid-19 are at a 72 percent higher risk of heart failure after 12 months

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A Covid-19 warning has been issued as deadly side-effects in the heart and vascular system can strike months after a person’s first virus diagnosis, a study has revealed.

Experts investigating illness after infection found that people who have had coronavirus are at a 72 percent higher risk of heart failure after 12 months, leading to potentially fatal consequences.

Medics also found those who had Covid-19, no matter how severe, are more at risk of suffering from strokes, a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

Hospital staff on one of five Covid-19 wards at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside
Hospital staff on one of five Covid-19 wards at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside

Other links were found with transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted.

The study, published in Nature Medicine, considered data from over 11 million US veterans, including 154,000 who had Covid and their estimated risk for at least 20 cardiovascular diseases.

Ziyad Al-Aly, the senior study author and chief of research at the VA St. Louis Health Care System, said: “Covid is an equal opportunity offender.

“We found an increased risk of cardiovascular problems in old people and in young people, in people with diabetes and without diabetes, in people with obesity and people without obesity, in people who smoked and who never smoked.

Prevalence of Covid-19 in the UK
Prevalence of Covid-19 in the UK

“What really worries me is that some of these conditions are chronic conditions that will literally scar people for a lifetime.”

He added: “It’s not like you wake up tomorrow and suddenly no longer have heart failure.”

Evelina Grayver, director of women’s heart health at Northwell Health in New York, told Fox News: “There were 20 cardiac disorders that were diagnosed for those patients that are suffering from long haul Covid.

"The most common is the shortness of breath and fatigue.

“The new arrhythmias, or the abnormal heart rhythms that people experience, are significant as well and can become incredibly handicapping for a lot of patients."

The study period ended before vaccines were available.

The findings come as Covid-19 infections in most of the UK remain near or at record levels, with only Scotland seeing a drop in numbers, new figures show.

Some 4.88 million people in private households in the UK are estimated to have had the virus last week, down very slightly from a record 4.91 million in the previous week.

It's also been revealed that nearly 100 people in England are likely to have been infected four times with Covid-19, according to provisional figures from the UK Health Security Agency (HSA).

Around 10,000 people are thought to have had the virus three times, with reinfections now accounting for roughly one in nine cases.

A total of 890,575 reinfection episodes have been identified in England since the start of the pandemic.