RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — COVID-19 can take a toll on your respiratory system, but that’s not all. Your heart may be at risk too.
The coronavirus can affect the heart indirectly, such as causing blood clots which can lead to a heart attack. It may have a direct effect too.
“So what we would call a viral myocarditis. The theory is the virus directly damages the heart muscle and makes the heart muscle weak,” Dr. Joseph Tuma, Heart and Vascular Medical Director & Interventional Cardiologist, said.
While it’s important to take health precautions and social distance if you have a heart condition, you should still make time to see your physician.
Health officials say that since the pandemic started back in March, some patients with heart issues stopped coming to their appointments due to anxiety and concerns over COVID-19. That’s why Monument Health is reminding people to keep those appointments in order to maintain their health.
“Unfortunately we’ve been seeing a lot of patients come to the hospital sort of late in the course of their disease. So in particular people with heart attacks, strokes who are scared to come to the hospital because of the COVID situation,” Dr. Tuma said.
By the time those patients get to the hospital, their heart may have already sustained a lot of damage.
That’s why Dr. Tuma and Monument Health want people to feel safe and comfortable when they come to the hospital.
“We have a very strict mask mandate in the hospital. The patients that are either COVID positive or suspected of being COVID positive are in a separate part of the hospital, kept completely separate from patients that aren’t,” Dr. Tuma said.
Health officials will also screen everyone that walks in the door. All in efforts to keep hospital staff and patients safe.
Health officials at Monument Health say that if you are experiencing extreme chest pain that you have never felt before, that should be a sign to see your doctor.