LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Researchers are connecting the dots between long-haul COVID patients and their overall cardiovascular health. They believe women are more susceptible to long-lasting covid symptoms.
Home care nurse Regina Juarez's COVID journey began in June 2020.
"We were seeing tons of patients with COVID, and that's how I got COVID," Juarez
It was before vaccines were available, so she started treatment.
"I got better after a week or so with the steroid medications, but then when those finished, I got really sick again," Juarez said.
Researchers say one in three Americans like Juarez become COVID long haulers.
Loma Linda University Health cardiologist Dr. Purvi Parwani says even people who had mild or no initial COVID symptoms can become long haulers and those symptoms can actually be much worse.
"It does systemic damage to the heart in addition to the virus that damages the heart and vascular lining directly," Parwani said.
Dr. Parwani says while treating her patients, she noticed an interesting trend.
"COVID-19 mortality is more in men. More men go to the ICU. But long-haul COVID is seen more in women," Parwani said.
Why that is? Researchers don't know. But they believe it has something to do with the biological and hormonal differences between men and women.
Juarez has since gotten her shots and continues to take medication to treat her symptoms. She hopes her story inspires more women to ask their providers questions about long COVID and to take the time to focus on themselves.
"Right now, I'm feeling pretty good with my heart," she said. "We tend to spend our time giving giving giving and forgetting that we need to take some time to prepare ourselves for the long haul and to continue loving those people."
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