Doctors believe COVID-19 can cause heart attack and strokes in young patients

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As we are continuing to discover more about COVID-19, we're now learning about how it can affect the heart. It can even cause strokes in young people.

Dr. Barry Trachtenberg, a cardiologist at Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, said it's early on, but they are getting some data from hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

"There is data from some centers that says up to 25 percent of patients that are hospitalized can have new onset of heart injuries," said Trachtenberg.

He said although the damage could be very minor in some cases, the numbers are still high.

There are several ways the virus can impact the heart.

"That can be due to the heart muscle becoming weak, due to stress or adrenaline surge that can happen in emotional or stressful situations," said Trachtenberg.

Also, the virus causes blood clots, which can cause a heart attack of stroke. Trachtenberg also said doctors have seen strokes in people under the age of 50.

People can have heart attacks of strokes for other reason besides COVID-19, but some people are not going to the hospital to be treated because of their fears of the virus.

"If you are having symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, and it is safe to come to the hospital, you definitely want to get treatment for something like that. The risk of getting COVID-19 and getting severe symptoms are much smaller than the risk of having complications from a heart attack or a stroke," he said.

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