Research showing how COVID-19 can also damage the heart

We know the coronavirus attacks the respiratory system but doctors are now realizing it doesn't stop there. 

Most focus has been on protecting the lungs from COVID-19 but now experts are starting to really learn about what other damage the coronavirus can do.

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that attacks the lungs, a complex and delicate system of pathways that take the oxygen from the air and gets it to the rest of your body. Now Harvard researchers are reporting the coronavirus can also attack the heart. 

It really seems like the virus puts the body through a grueling stress test. 

The Chair of Cardiology for Ascension Michigan Dr. Shukri David has seen the impact. 

"If you already have a preexisting condition - and that's what we're talking about when you talk about folks that have preexisting conditions that are dying from the coronavirus - they've already got a weakened heart muscle; they've had a prior heart attack, so it really stresses your body."

But even for patients with preexisting conditions, the virus takes a toll on the heart. 

"We're also now seeing that the virus itself can damage the heart muscle. Even though you come in with a normal heart function, you can develop inflammation of the heart muscle and in some cases have reported actually of heart attacks from the virus. So it can directly cause a heart attack but it can also exacerbate an underlying condition."

To add to that, doctors are also worried about seeing a lot of kidney damage with the coronavirus.

If you're worried about your heart health, one thing to keep in mind is all this stress can be really bad for anyone's heart. So be aware of how your body is reacting to what's happening and try to control the stress reaction. 

Meditation, exercise, deep breathing, yoga, nature walks, music, time with pets, prayer or connecting with others in creative ways can help relieve stress.

Remember, heart disease is one of the known risk factors that increase the risks of more severe symptoms and even death from the coronavirus.