By now, most individuals are conscious of the danger of growing lengthy COVID after having COVID-19. However new analysis suggests the virus can ramp up your threat of growing blood clots—and that threat stays greater than regular for a yr afterward.
That’s the principle takeaway from a big new examine printed within the journal Circulation. The examine analyzed information from 48 million folks registered in Nice Britain’s Nationwide Well being System from January 2020 till the day earlier than COVID-19 vaccines had been made obtainable in December 2020. The researchers discovered 1.4 million diagnoses of COVID-19 and, amongst these, 10,500 sufferers that developed blood clot-related points.
The researchers found that, within the first week after somebody obtained a COVID-19 analysis, the danger of growing an arterial blood clot (which might result in a coronary heart assault or stroke by blocking blood circulation to the center or mind), was almost 22 occasions greater than in somebody who didn’t have the virus. The danger dropped by the second week, however was nonetheless elevated—it was lower than 4 occasions greater than in somebody who didn’t have the virus.
For clots that occur within the veins, like deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, the danger within the first week after being identified with COVID-19 was 33 occasions greater. After three to 4 weeks after an individual had been identified, it was about eight occasions greater. The danger was nonetheless 1.8 occasions greater between 27 and 49 weeks later when in comparison with individuals who had by no means had COVID-19.
The dangers had been there no matter how extreme an individual’s COVID-19 was, however they had been greater in those that had been hospitalized with the virus. The clot dangers had been additionally greater in Black and Asian sufferers.
Total, the clots had been uncommon. The general threat of growing an arterial clot within the 49 weeks after being identified with COVID-19 was 0.5% and it was 0.25% for a venous clot in that point interval. (To translate that into real-world well being points, it led to about 7,200 extra coronary heart assaults or strokes and three,500 extra circumstances of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, or different vein-related well being points.)
This raises loads of questions on security after having COVID-19, together with why this may occur and what try to be looking out for. Right here’s what you have to know.
Why can COVID-19 elevate your threat of blood clots?
The examine didn’t discover this—it merely discovered an affiliation—however there are some theories on why this hyperlink may exist.
A giant one is that the virus may cause irritation in your physique. “COVID provokes an inflammatory response that may improve blood clotting and harm vascular constructions,” says infectious illness skilled Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., a senior scholar on the Johns Hopkins Middle for Well being Safety. Because of this, he says, “a heightened threat of clotting can persist.”
It’s additionally attainable that an elevated threat of blood clots is solely how the virus works, says Thomas Russo, M.D., professor and chief of infectious illness on the College at Buffalo in New York. “It appears to be a part of the pathophysiology of this virus,” he says.
Dr. Russo says that medical doctors have recognized “from the start of this pandemic that while you get contaminated with COVID,” you may have a higher tendency to type blood clots. “Early on, we had been seeing these horrible conditions of individuals with black fingers and toes, and harm to quite a lot of organs” due to blood clots, he says.
Can this occur with different infections?
Docs say that different infections may cause a higher-than-usual threat of blood clots. Dr. Adalja factors out that the hyperlink is “nicely described” with shingles, inflicting an elevated threat of coronary heart assaults.
“These clots have additionally been described with flu,” Dr. Russo says. “Nevertheless, they’re extra frequent with COVID.”
Indicators of a blood clot
It’s regular for blood to clot below sure circumstances, like when you may have a minimize. However blood clots could be a problem after they type and create a blockage or journey to different areas of the physique, like your lungs or mind, in keeping with Medline Plus. Signs of harmful clots rely on the place they’re positioned within the physique. Per Medline Plus, they will embody:
- Abdomen ache
- Sudden or gradual ache in your arm, together with swelling, tenderness, and heat
- Shortness of breath
- Ache with deep respiration
- Fast respiration
- An elevated coronary heart charge
- Hassle talking
- Imaginative and prescient issues
- Weak point on one aspect of the physique
- A sudden, extreme headache
- Chest ache
- Shortness of breath
- Ache within the left arm
The best way to keep secure from blood clots in case you’ve had COVID-19
Dr. Adalja stresses that this threat is uncommon. Nevertheless, Dr. Russo says it’s nonetheless a good suggestion to no less than pay attention to the danger for blood clots and what signs can appear like.
It’s additionally a good suggestion to get your full COVID-19 vaccination sequence, together with boosters you’re eligible for, whether or not you’ve had COVID or not, Dr. Russo says. “That is but another excuse to attempt to shield your self from getting COVID,” he says.
Korin Miller is a contract author specializing on the whole wellness, sexual well being and relationships, and way of life traits, with work showing in Males’s Well being, Girls’s Well being, Self, Glamour, and extra. She has a grasp’s diploma from American College, lives by the seashore, and hopes to personal a teacup pig and taco truck in the future.