What Are Heart Attack Symptoms
Some heart attacks come on gradually, with mild symptoms that get worse over time. Others happen suddenly, with more intense discomfort.
If you are having these symptoms, call 911:
- Tightness, a squeezing sensation, pain or pressure in the chest that doesnt go away after a few minutes, or stops and then returns
- Pain or discomfort in your arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach
- Shortness of breath
- A cold sweat
Do not drive yourself to the emergency department: Call 911 or have someone drive you.
Even if youre not sure youre having a heart issue, its better to be safe than sorry. Call 911 or get to a hospital, where doctors can examine and treat you promptly.
Why Might Covid Cause Back Pain
During viral infections, the body releases a ton of small proteins called cytokines to rev up the immune system in order to fight the pathogen. According to Jacob Hascalovici, a neurologist, interventional pain specialist and the chief medical officer and co-founder of chronic pain telehealth platform Clearing, one of the consequences of these pro-inflammatory cytokines is that they can greatly irritate muscles and joints.
Its not just the coronavirus that triggers this type of reaction. Back pain and muscle aches are commonly reported with other viral and bacterial infections, too like the flu, adenoviruses and rhinoviruses. Whang said this large immune response, which is part of the bodys natural response to viruses, can elicit a lot of musculoskeletal complaints.
With COVID, much of the aches and pain being reported involve the muscles and soft tissues around the joints its not causing structural issues or causing the discs to wear down quicker, according to Whang.
People with preexisting back issues are also experiencing flare-ups when infected with COVID. According to Patrick Doherty, a neurosurgeon and spine surgeon with Yale Medicine, the inflammatory reaction can be more problematic and aggravating in people with underlying health issues like chronic back pain, which is why the infection seems to exacerbate preexisting symptoms in areas of weakness.
How Can You Treat The Back Aches
Doherty recommended treating COVID-related back and muscle aches the same way youd treat other types of back pain try some gentle stretching, use heat or ice, and if you can tolerate them, over-the-counter oral anti-inflammatories like NSAIDs or acetaminophen. Hascalovici also suggested topical anti-inflammatory and botanical therapies since the side effects are low.
Avoid strenuous activity and physical therapy during the infection and let yourself rest, Whang added. If you have an active infection, you dont want to be too aggressive in treating back pain.
The good news is that most of the time, the back pain and muscle aches are self-limited theyll fade away when the infection clears .
As they are recovering, with a little bit of a lag, so is the back pain recovering, Doherty said.
Omicron is so new that researchers dont yet know if back pain will be a common long-haul symptom in patients who were infected with the variant. Weve seen this with other variants, so the same could very well be true with omicron. But, regardless, if your back pain persists after you recover from COVID, its time to seek medical attention as there may be an underlying condition causing the pain.
You dont want to miss something and just dismiss it as this is my omicron, Doherty said. Sometimes, its something else.
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/7you Are Suffering From Covid Pneumonia
COVID pneumonia can be a serious COVID complication that demands attention at once. Pneumonia is a complication that is caused due to inflammation in the air sacs present inside the lungs. The complication can lead to fluid buildup inside the cavity which then fuels symptoms. Debilitating chest pain, which could get more intense at nighttime can be a sign to check for.
When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
If you develop symptoms that you think may be caused by COVID-19 or have been around someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19, you should call your healthcare provider to discuss your situation. While determining if you have been exposed, protect yourself and others by not leaving the house unless you are told to by your doctor it is safe to do so or you are having a medical emergency.
Your healthcare provider may refer you to be tested for COVID-19.
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Loss Of Appetite Nausea And Vomiting
Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss have been reported in a number of patients across age groups.
Theres no question at this point that GI symptoms can be a manifestation of Covid-19, William Chey, M.D., professor of gastroenterology and nutrition sciences at the University of Michigan, told AARP.
The symptoms can come on without the more typical and recognized markers of a coronavirus infection, such as fever and cough, the doctor said.
Experts explained that stomach issues can come from the virus infecting cells that line the GI tract, or as a result of your body fighting the infection.
If you experience a sudden onset of these symptoms, you’re encouraged to check with your doctor.
Ready To Define Long Covid
As an intensive care unit physician and pulmonologist, Michael Risbano, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has seen a lot of COVID. As the co-manager of the medical system’s post-COVID clinic, he’s also seen a lot of people coming in for help with what could be long COVID. When he saw the data from Horberg’s presentation, at first it seemed to confirm what he’d already known. But then he looked further.
“Well, this is actually making sense,” Risbano thought. At his clinic, it’s been an ongoing challenge to tease out what symptoms existed before COVID. Unlike Kaiser, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is not a closed system.
“We know some people who tend to get sick have some underlying medical issues already,” Risbano told Medscape Medical News. “But we don’t always have a good baseline as to what they were like beforehand, so we don’t always know what’s changed.”
He said the study design here, though retrospective and based on chart review rather than prospective observation, starts to put symptoms into the larger context of a patient’s life. And the diabetes association really stood out to him. He recalled one patient who, when she was admitted to the ICU, had a hemoglobin A1c that was totally normal. But when that patient returned a few months later, her blood sugar had skyrocketed.
Still, he said he’s not sure that the conditions the study identified should be the basis for a definition of long COVID.
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/7is Chest Pain Concerning When You Have Covid
With every passing day, the list of symptoms pertaining to the lethal mutant strains of coronavirus seem to be increasing. The second wave of infections has also changed the manner in which symptoms progress, which is making COVID+ patients a lot more sick in the very beginning. The severity has also increased the likelihood for people to have harsher symptoms, some of which can seem quite scary.
One such symptom being chest pain. It may not be a classic listed symptom of COVID-19, but the intensity could be debilitating enough and require help.
Chest pain is now a commonly reported symptom amongst COVID+ patients suffering from even mild infections. While it is a common indicator of your overall respiratory health, chest pain when you are suffering from coronavirus can arise due to multiple factors.
What About Nonemergency Heart Issues Do I Have To Go To The Doctors Office During Covid
Not always, says Lowenstein. Although it is safe for patients to see their doctors in the office during the COVID-19 pandemic, for some people, theres an alternative.
Many cardiologists and primary care doctors offer telemedicine, which enables patients to meet with their doctors by computer, tablet or smartphone for consultations and follow-up. Its an easy, convenient alternative to driving to the doctors office to be seen in person.
Well evaluate your situation, and schedule an in-person or virtual visit within the first two weeks after you call us up, says Lowenstein. If you have a MyChart account and a smartphone, a tablet or a computer, well schedule you for face-to-face, real-time video visits.
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Is Chest Pain A Common Symptom Of Covid
While chest pain isnt on the CDCs list of COVID-19 symptoms, its listed as a serious symptom of the virus by the World Health Organization , along with difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pressure, and loss of speech of movement. The WHO recommends that you seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of those symptoms.
Dr. Watkins adds that, while chest pain can occur in COVID-19 patients, it is not a frequent symptom so far. One July report from the CDC found that 35% of 164 confirmed COVID-19 patients reported feeling chest pain or discomfort after testing guidelines were expanded on March 8.
Does Omicron Cause More Back Pain Than Other Variants
This is still up in the air. During the early stages of the pandemic, patients frequently reported lung issues and loss of taste and smell. These symptoms arent as common with omicron. Doherty said he has treated more patients with back aches during the omicron wave.
With omicron, we are definitely seeing more complaints of back pain, even after theyve recovered, and were not exactly sure why. But inflammation and the immune response is likely the cause, Doherty said.
Its unclear if theres something different about omicron that specifically causes back pain or if were hearing more about this symptom since so many more people are getting infected now, Hascalovici added. Some doctors suspect omicron may uniquely attack the musculoskeletal system, however, we need more research to determine if thats whats going on.
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Heart Disease Or Covid
When SARS-CoV-2 enters into the body, it comes into contact with the mucous membranes that line the respiratory system. Infection begins to develop in the upper respiratory tract, even though the virus can travel down the airways. Common symptoms include nasal congestion, runny nose, cough and sore throat presented along with low- to high-grade fever, chills, malaise or fatigue, headache and muscle ache. If the infection extensively progresses, the lower respiratory tract including the lungs will be further affected. Once the virus reaches the lungs, the lining can become irritated and inflamed. The inflammation and infection activate our immune system to fight back through several immune mechanisms, resulting in an elevated metabolic rate with lung infection. Pneumonia develops when the lungs are inflamed and filled with an excess fluid, leading to breathing difficulties. The COVID-19 induced pneumonia tends to take hold in both lungs where air sacs in the lungs filling with fluid limit their ability to take in oxygen. Due to impaired oxygen levels in the blood, patients exhibit shortness of breath and palpitation defined as a skipped beat, rapid fluttering in the chest.
How Long Does The Post
Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
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Could My Chest Pain Be Because Of The Coronavirus
Chest pain is a rare symptom of COVID-19 and usually does not occur as the sole symptom. For instance, if your chest pain was due to COVID-19, you would most likely have accompanying signs of upper respiratory infection such as coughing and phlegm. And, the pain would not be due to a panic attack, says Dr. McCann. But again, because of the wide range of symptoms that people experience with COVID-19, theres no way to know without getting checked by a healthcare provider.
The CDC lists common COVID-19 symptoms as: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.3
You May Have Heart Palpitations
Another cardiovascular symptom of long hauler syndrome is heart palpitations, reveals Dr. Lutchmansingh. The Mayo Clinic describes them as “feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart.” Per the survey 11 percent of long haulers experience heart palpitations “Stress, exercise, medication or, rarely, a medical condition can trigger them,” they explain.
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Is Heart Damage Caused By Covid
Post says that if symptoms are due to a cardiac cause, recovery depends on the severity of injury. Very few people have a severe heart attack, such as an acute myocardial infarction, or MI, due to COVID-19, she says.
Still, heart imaging can reveal minor changes in the heart muscle of some COVID-19 survivors. Post notes that some studies on athletes recovering from the coronavirus have shown some scarring, but stresses that some of these studies did not compare these results with those who had not had COVID-19. How long these minor changes persist and how they affect heart health are not yet known. Experts are developing protocols and recommendations for which athletes should get cardiac testing before returning to play.
COVID-19 can also affect the strength of the heart pumping, Post says, but subtle abnormalities in heart pumping are not likely to cause people problems.
A person recovering from COVID-19 may benefit from physical therapy, breathing exercises, and most of all, time. Post advises anyone recovering from COVID-19 should expect a gradual course of recovery, and should not expect a rapid return to their normal activity levels.
Yes Chest Pain Can Be A Sign Of Coronavirus But Its Not The Most Common One
First of all, just because you have chest pain doesnt mean you have coronavirus. You might have the flu, a common cold, or something like strep throat. There might be something non-viral going on of concern. Or maybe its anxiety. Your doctor is better equipped to tell you that But credible research studies and governmental sites have outlined the common symptoms for coronavirus. Chest pain is among them. Also be aware that the virus has an incubation stage and the symptoms themselves can take time to worsen . However, again, most people recover from COVID-19.
The article Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. That article noted, During the first 2 months of the current outbreak, Covid-19 spread rapidly throughout China and caused varying degrees of illness. Patients often presented without fever, and many did not have abnormal radiologic findings. Thus, although fever is often cited as a leading indicator of coronavirus, an absence of a fever does not mean that you dont have it, either.
However, this study did find that the most common coronavirus symptoms were fever and cough.
Chest pain per se didnt make that list but the related shortness of breath did.
The study found that 18.7 percent of patients had shortness of breath. Heres the list of symptoms with percentages found in that research study:
Heres the symptom chart from that study:
sore throat fever
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Vaccine Effectiveness & Omicron
Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is reduced by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated.
While there are breakthrough cases of Covid among people who are vaccinated, they are rare.
In the event of a breakthrough case, victims are highly unlikely to be hospitalized with severe or deadly symptoms from the virus.
Health officials have advised that the Omicron variant is more infectious and could lead to further breakthrough cases.
Yet the spread can be offset by all vaccinated Americans receiving a booster shot.
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.
With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Studies have also shown that side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare.
Research On Heart Problems After Covid
Research shows that there is still a lot to learn about lasting heart effects on people who have had COVID-19. In some cases, patients are left with signs of heart damage that may call for continued monitoring.
Post cites a German study in which cardiac MRIs were conducted on 100 people who had the coronavirus and survived. The researchers saw abnormal findings in 78 of these patients. Compared with those who had not had COVID-19, these patients showed evidence of scarring and inflammation of the heart muscle and its surrounding tissue . However, this study was limited by the lack of an appropriate comparison group, and subsequent studies have found a much lower incidence of myocarditis in those who had a prior COVID-19 infection.
Another small study assessed 26 college athletes who had COVID-19 with mild symptoms or none at all. Cardiac MRI showed that these students had normal EKGs and normal levels of a substance called troponin, which when elevated can indicate heart problems. Four of them had heart muscle inflammation , and two of these had inflammation of the pericardium .
Post says these data have to be considered carefully, since the sample sizes are small, and the pre-COVID heart health of the participants wasnt known.
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/7you Have Inflamed Lungs
Incidents of lung infection are now rising during the second wave of infections, with over 30% of cases suffering from some form of infection or impairment in pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic stages of infection. Even a slight bout of inflammation alone can cause discomfort and pain in the chest cavities. A chest X-Ray or a CT-Scan is advised to determine the level of lung involvement in such cases.