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COVID-19 could cause long-term heart problems

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February is heart month and medical researchers are finding a possible link between COVID-19 and future cardiovascular problems.

Alabama ranks 51 out of 52 in the nation when it comes to heart health.  

Dr. David Goff is with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. He said those who already have heart health issues especially need to adhere to health guidelines.  

“Folks who have had heart attacks in the past, who have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure of diabetes or obesity, they’re at increased of a bad outcome if they get the virus. They’re more likely to end up in the hospital, on a ventilator or not surviving if they do get it,” he said. 

He said they are finding more evidence that COVID-19 can cause long term heart problems for those who get it.  

“We’re learning that this virus attacks the blood vessels throughout the body, including those that supply the heart, but other organs like the brain and kidney and lungs. By attacking the blood vessels that supply the heart the virus sets up some inflammation that over the long term that will lead to weakening of the heart and a condition called heart failure,” he said.  

Goff said the pandemic has made maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle more difficult. However, there are ways to help improve heart health. He encourages people to improve their diet with more vegetables and exercising more. 

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