February is National Heart Health month.
COVID has impacted just about every aspect of our lives and now doctors are saying it could have a long-lasting impact on your heart. If you've had COVID, they say there are certain signs and symptoms you'll want to look out for.
Dr. Sanjay Verma, a cardiologist with Desert Care Network, says since the pandemic began, he has seen a spike in patients coming in with heart complications.
"COVID can affect the heart in several different ways," Verma said.
Verma said if you're experiencing any of these symptoms…he says you should seek immediate care.
"Any kind of chest pressure or discomfort with exertion. People can also have shortness of breath with activity palpitations or feeling your heart pounding in your chest when you normally wouldn't."
COVID can impact your heart in several ways, from inflammation of the heart to blood clots to new arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats.
"Some of the patients also have long lasting symptoms of struggling with shortness of breath or not being able to exercise as much as they were able to before," Verma said.
Verma said some recovered COVID patients who continue to struggle with shortness of breath might think they need to see a lung specialist. However, it could also be a heart issue that needs to be looked at.
"Dizziness and lightheadedness where you feel like you're going to pass out, are all signs of possible impact on the heart," Verma said.
He also says if you have any pre-existing heart conditions or disease, you're at a higher risk for COVID complications. Doing everything you can to keep a healthy heart is critical, that includes frequent exercise.
"We're blessed here in the desert in the wintertime having the best weather in the country and it's a good opportunity even if facilities are closed for exercise," Verma said.
And a healthy diet.
"Less soda, less sugar, less fried food, less processed food. All those have been linked to increased cardiovascular risk," Verma said.