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COVID-19 long haulers experience heart conditions and other health issues

Many people in central Wisconsin are not going to the doctor for checkups and small issues....
Many people in central Wisconsin are not going to the doctor for checkups and small issues. Hospital systems believe it’s a side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.(Aspirus Health System)
Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 5:55 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Local health experts say they’re keeping their eye on a new issue popping up in adults after they’ve recovered from COVID-19. They say they’re seeing more middle-aged adults suffer heart-related issues.

University Hospital is starting a post-COVID treatment clinic and doctors say patients are coming in often with COVID-related issues months after their diagnosis.

“It’s a miracle they survive and they’re saying it’s a miracle that you’re still breathing,” said Abraham Manimalethu, an 81-year-old man that spent nine days fighting COVID-19 at University Hospital back in January. He is now dealing with post-COVID syndrome.

“In the night, I cannot sleep. I have all kinds of wild dreams. I sleep for one or two hours,” said Manimalethu.

Months later he’s still exhausted and can barely walk. But thankfully doing better thanks to Dr. Darshaq Karia from University Hospital.

“What we are now seeing six months later is a lot of patients with the post-COVID syndrome,” he said.

He treats many patients just like Abraham. But there are others as young as 25 years old.

“We’ve also seen younger patients getting heart attacks and blood clots because of COVID,” said Karia.

Some were even asymptomatic but months later experienced symptoms.

“Palpitations, blood pressure issues, arrhythmias, heart failure...,” he said.

Doctors still aren’t sure exactly why but many believe it’s because of the strong immune reaction caused by COVID that can cause blood clotting. Dr. Karia is seeing two to three new post-COVID patients every week each facing their unique struggles.

“Chances are if you had COVID it was some subtle attack to the heart whether that translated into symptoms,” he said. “Shortness of breath, or not being able to climb up the stairs, dizziness or falls, you might want to get checked out.”

This clinic is starting immediately they will be taking referrals and appointments from patients of all ages and situations. Trying to meet a growing need that no one ever expected.

AU Health is also running a post-COVID treatment clinic. They say they are seeing similar issues and expect to serve these patients for quite some time.

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