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Sure Signals Your Chest Pain is COVID

If you have fainted, have heart palpitations or bulging veins, call your doctor. You might be a long-hauler.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

When it first hit these shores, the coronavirus was originally classified as a "respiratory disease," implying that it only affects the lungs. Now we know better. COVID-19 can destroy all your body's systems, impacting the brain, the lungs, the skin, the heart and more. Now, a new study involving 3,762 "long haulers"—those still suffering from coronavirus six months after getting it—has pinpointed the most common signs of "Long COVID," including those related to cardiovascular illness, which we'll single out here. Do you suffer from any of these? Read on to see the list ranked from less common to most common—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You Might Faint

Young woman, blond hair, fainted in bed.

"Syncope (SINK-a-pee) is another word for fainting or passing out," according to Johns Hopkins, and a minority of those studied suffered it. "Someone is considered to have syncope if they become unconscious and go limp, then soon recover. For most people, syncope occurs once in a great while, if ever, and is not a sign of serious illness. However in others, syncope can be the first and only warning sign prior to an episode of sudden cardiac death. Syncope can also lead to serious injury. Talk to your physician if syncope happens more often."


You Might Suffer Bradycardia

Patient complains of heart pain to a cardiologist doctor

"Bradycardia is a slower than normal heart rate. The hearts of adults at rest usually beat between 60 and 100 times a minute," says the Mayo Clinic. "If you have bradycardia (brad-e-KAHR-dee-uh), your heart beats fewer than 60 times a minute. Bradycardia can be a serious problem if the heart doesn't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body."


You Might Have Visibly Inflamed/Bulging Veins

Thigh pain or muscle twitching or muscle cramp.

"In addition to the more common symptoms, doctors have found COVID-19 can affect the vascular system, including the veins, heart, brain, and blood. While experts aren't exactly sure of all the specifics, they theorize in some people the illness may cause everything from blood clots to heart attacks and cardiac inflammation as the virus attaches to the ACE2 receptors on cells that line the blood vessels," reports the North Shore Vein Center. "One group of researchers found blood clots which can severely compromise blood flow in the lungs, brain, heart, and other areas are related to blood vessels that are damaged. This devastation results in a unique healing reaction that was found in patients who had COVID-19 at 30 times greater than normal levels."


You Might Have Pain/Burning in Your Chest

Woman having chest pain. respiratory system diseases

Pain in the chest is not uncommon in Long COVID. The coronavirus is a respiratory disease, so you may have a lung illness—or you may have costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage in your ribs. Alternatively, you may have a heart issue. "COVID-19 damages organ systems and causes cardiovascular complications, including thromboembolic phenomena and cardiomyopathies," reports the AJMC. "If you look at the manifestations of severe COVID-19, they are plentiful." Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said. "I mentioned the cardiac ones, but there is also acute respiratory distress syndrome. There is kidney injury, neurological injury, a hypercoagulable state manifested by microthrombosis in small vessels and acute thrombotic phenomenon, sometimes seen in otherwise well, young individuals."


You Might Have Tachycardia

ekg ecg heart test with stethoscope

"Tachycardia is the medical term for a heart rate over 100 beats per minute," says the Mayo Clinic, which calls it a "heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia)." "In some cases, tachycardia may cause no symptoms or complications. But if left untreated, tachycardia can disrupt normal heart function and lead to serious complications, including:

  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Sudden cardiac arrest or death."


You Might Have Palpitations 

Mature woman having heart attack on stairs, outdoors

The most common cardiovascular sign you have Long COVID is heart palpitations. You might get them if you stand up too quickly, walking around or going up some stairs. The CDC says you might get a "fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)" and warns of "more serious long-term complications"  including "inflammation of the heart muscle." 

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors


How to Survive This Pandemic

Woman put on medical protective mask for protection against coronavirus.

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional. And in the meantime, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek