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Am I At Risk for Blood Clots After COVID?

Am I At Risk for Blood Clots After COVID?

Even after you recover from the initial infection, COVID-19 can cause a wide range of potentially life-changing complications, including those affecting the cardiovascular system. A COVID infection can damage the heart muscle or cause severe clotting resulting in a heart attack or stroke, but medical experts are still uncovering exactly how and why.

Some of the newest research, for example, shows that “rogue” antibodies found circulating in the blood of COVID-19 patients could be the culprit for triggering blood clots. Here’s a round-up of what else we know based on the current research:

  • Blood clots in the legs and the lungs are very common. But, doctors are also seeing them in unusual locations like the deeper veins in the brain and the arteries and veins and the gastrointestinal tract.
  • One study looked at COVID-19 patients in one hospital’s ICU, finding that 29% of the study patients in had a thrombotic (clotting) event, compared to 12% of non-ICU hospitalized patients in the study.
  • A study of veterans a year post-COVID showed an increased risk of cardiovascular disease even if the COVID-19 infection was mild. This includes heart attacks, stroke, and myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart. Previous studies had shown that those with a COVID-19 infection were 16 times more likely to suffer from myocarditis.
  • As more people are diagnosed with long COVID, doctors are seeing cardiovascular issues like abnormal heart rate and heart rhythm, changes in blood vessel tone and skin discoloration.

In addition to getting boosted and reducing your risk of COVID exposure, it’s important to know the symptoms of cardiovascular issues like blood clots and myocarditis. For a blood clot, you may notice changes in a limb (like your leg), including pain, a lighter than usual color, or it becoming cold. With myocarditis, you may experience severe shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and heart palpitations. Please seek care right away if you experience any of these symptoms.