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COVID-19 vaccine can slash risk of post-infection heart failure by half, study finds

COVID-19 vaccine can slash risk of post-infection heart failure by half, study finds
Not allowing yourself to be peer-pressured into downloading those tiresome dating apps may be the first best precaution you can take to protect your heart. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 may well be the second, it turns out.

A new international study examining the effects of vaccines on millions of patients in the UK, Spain and Estonia found that being vaccinated may be the trick to a healthier heart.

In the first month after infection, the researchers found that the risk of blood clotting plummeted by a whopping 78% in the limbic veins and 47% in the arteries of the vaccinated individuals. Avoiding these complications helped more than halve the heart failure risk among vaxxers compared to the non-vaccinated.
What does blood clotting have to do with COVID?
Unfortunately, just having blood inside your body isn’t enough to help you survive; the stuff needs to constantly move and slosh through your blood vessels, transporting and depositing oxygen and other nutrients around like silt on a river edge. However, certain conditions — such as diabetes and obesity — can cause some of your blood to abnormally coagulate, forming giant blockages that prevent your veins and arteries from moving blood around efficiently. This places an extra burden on your heart, which can lead it to fail.

Research has shown that COVID-19 infections have the capability to cause unusual blood clots in multiple parts of the body, including the lungs and the legs. This can lead to organ failures, heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, simply taking a wee bit of time off to get yourself jabbed by the vaccine helps tremendously, it turns out.

It wasn’t just heart failure and stroke; being vaccinated also reduced the risk of developing other heart-related diseases. This included scary conditions such as heart attacks and ventricular arrhythmia (an abnormal heartbeat), although this shield only persisted for the first 30 days after the infection.

Despite not being at peak efficacy, the vaccine’s protection was potent enough to slash risk of heart failure by nearly 50% for up to a year after vaccination, the study found. This showed that even as the protective halo of the vaccine waned over time, it still continued to pack a punch.
Will this squash the vaccine side-effect debate?
There has been a second-wave of reluctance to take the COVID-19 vaccine, majorly due to concerns of long-term complications that can arise from them. The important thing to note is that while the vaccine can lead to heart issues in some people, it only takes place in extremely rare circumstances. Conversely, one study even showed that vaccination reduced the risk of long-COVID by a massive 67%.

The researchers thus hope that these positive heart-related findings will help clear any vaccination hesitations among sceptics. However, more studies need to be conducted to conclusively understand the protection offered by booster doses in different populations.

"Our findings probably reflect the fact that the vaccines are effective in reducing infection, and minimise the risk of severe COVID-19," explains study author Núria Mercadé-Besora. "These results could encourage COVID-19 vaccination among hesitant people who are worried about the potential risk of vaccine side effects."

The findings of this study have been published in Heart and can be accessed here.

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