Dec 31, 2023

Rise of COVID's JN.1 Sub variant Cases in India in 2023

On Sunday, the nation reported 841 new instances of COVID-19, marking the most substantial daily increase in over 10 months. As India concludes 2023, the final fortnight of December has witnessed nearly 8,500 Covid-19 cases. There is a heightened awareness of caution as Covid-19 resurfaces during winter.

The JN.1 is a sub-variant recently developed from the BA.2.86 (also known as Pirola.) The Pirola variant is a branch of the widely prevalent Omicron variant and has distinct characteristics.

Common symptoms associated with JN.1 include

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Minor gastrointestinal issues
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle weakness.

Most patients experience mild upper respiratory symptoms that typically improve within four to five days. Some cases may involve a loss of appetite and persistent nausea.

Symptomatic care is generally sufficient for mild symptoms, but it is crucial to be vigilant for red flag signs such as breathlessness. According to doctors, there is no evidence, as per the WHO, that JN.1 poses an increased risk to public health compared to other circulating variants.

Risk posed by JN.1 COVID Variant

While there is no indication of heightened severity from JN.1, a preprint study titled “Virological characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 JN.1 variant” suggests increased infectivity compared to BA.2.86.

What does it mean for your heart? Risk of Cardiovascular Disease by COVID-19

Can COVID-19 damage the heart?

Yes, COVID-19, primarily a respiratory disease, can affect the heart. Factors contributing to temporary or lasting heart damage include a lack of oxygen, inflammation, and lung fluid, which strain the heart. Myocarditis, inflammation of the heart, can occur directly or indirectly through the body’s immune response. Additionally, coronavirus infection affects blood vessels, leading to inflammation, clotting, and potential compromise of blood flow to the heart.

Can COVID-19 symptoms mimic a heart attack?

Yes, COVID-19 symptoms can resemble a heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, and changes in echocardiogram or EKG. However, angiograms often reveal no major blockage in the heart’s blood vessels, indicating a different mechanism. Myocarditis symptoms can also mimic a heart attack, and small blood clots may cause pain.

Improving Heart Health After COVID-19:

After a COVID-19 infection, a follow-up exam is crucial. Recommended tests, including routine lab work, blood pressure checks, and other tests covered below, are vital to assess heart health.

  • Electrocardiograms (EKG or ECG): This diagnostic method effectively detects irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias by analyzing the electrical signals in the heart. For immediate diagnosis and timely intervention, the ECG must be analyzed and reported quickly, like Wellnest 24*7 Reporting, which provides ECG Reporting for clinics, hospitals, and diagnostic chains within 10 minutes.
  • Echocardiogram: Utilizing sound waves, this test generates images of the heart and its chambers to identify potential issues. It serves as an initial assessment, and an MRI may be considered if other signs of cardiomyopathy are present.
  • MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging produces detailed images of the heart’s soft tissues, offering insights into scarring, inflammation, and other tissue damage.
  • BNP: B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) indicates fluid overload, signaling the heart’s efficiency in moving blood forward.
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) test: This test assesses the risk of coronary heart disease and inflammatory response by measuring high-sensitivity CRP levels.
  • Exercise stress test: Evaluating the heart’s performance during physical activity, this test provides valuable information about cardiovascular health.

A comprehensive approach is essential, especially after severe infections. If experiencing abnormal heartbeats or breathlessness, consult a doctor. Exercise should be reintroduced gradually, ruling out structural abnormalities first. This cautious approach is essential for individuals experiencing fatigue after the initial infection phase.

In summary, recognizing and addressing the potential impact of COVID-19 on heart health is crucial. Follow-up exams, a cautious exercise regimen, and proactive measures contribute to a healthier recovery. Your heart deserves attention, especially post-COVID-19.