There is growing evidence that Covid-19 may potentially be having significant knock-on health consequences among the general population, including resulting in increased levels of heart failure and stroke.
An analysis of NHS data by the Financial Times newspaper has concluded the fact the virus is a multi-system disease that can affect various organs and areas of the body may be leaving people susceptible to a range of other conditions, not just the long-term effects of long Covid.
For example, there have been significant rises in deaths from heart disease since the start of the pandemic in all but the very oldest.
Among people aged 40-64, heart attack deaths were up 15% in 2021 compared with 2019.
Rates of heart failure and stroke were also significantly higher in those who had recovered from a bout of Covid than in those who had not been infected by the virus.
The newspaper has also cited an analysis of more than 150,000 records from the national healthcare databases at the US Department of Veterans Affairs that has suggested even some people who had not been seriously ill with Covid may have an increased risk of cardiovascular problems for at least a year afterwards.
Covid-19 and work
Researchers found that rates of many conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, were substantially higher in people who had recovered from Covid than in similar people who had not been infected.
“The level of damage that’s been done to population health [during Covid], it would be as if everybody suddenly decided to take up smoking in one go,” Dr David Strain, consultant geriatrician at the University of Exeter told the paper.