COVID-19 isn’t considered just a respiratory disease anymore. As more novel coronavirus cases come and go, it’s clear that this virus can have a significant effect on the blood and cardiovascular health. You or your loved ones might have symptoms of COVID-19 stemming from your bloodstream. Those main symptoms, or warning signs, can include conditions of subtle concern to extreme life-threatening events. Check out these eight warning signs to watch for if you suspect you or your family members have contracted coronavirus.
8. Abnormal Numbness and Swelling
One warning sign of coronavirus in the blood is unusual numbness and swelling. These symptoms could indicate that you’ve developed one or multiple blood clots from COVID-19. If that’s the case, the swelling and numbness are likely due to a blood clot — also called a thrombus — blocking the blood flow to that area. The resulting tingling and swelling from a blood clot often begin in your hands, feet, arms or legs. Cramping and throbbing sensations might also indicate a blood clot is blocking healthy blood flow to those areas.
7. Blood Clots and Factor V
Abnormal blood clots have become a common warning sign of COVID-19, and are particularly threatening to people who suffer serious illness from the virus. Blood vessel blockage from these clots could trigger serious conditions like deep vein thrombosis, heart attack or stroke.
Blood clots associated with COVID-19 seem to also be connected to a blood clotting protein called factor V. A recent study in the American Journal of Hematology found that patients with severe cases of COVID-19 had significantly higher levels of factor V in their blood, believed to be linked to coronavirus blood clots.
6. Deep Vein Thrombosis
Blood clots in the deep veins of your legs and other parts of the body are known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This condition is another warning sign that you may have COVID-19 in your blood. A DVT could break free, travel to the lungs, and cause a pulmonary embolism.
Heart specialist Dr. Maja Zaric of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City told WebMD of the high regularity of DVT cases associated with coronavirus patients. “Sixty-five percent of all admitted patients had evidence of lower extremity DVT upon admission, and two days later that percent increased to 79%.”
5. Abnormal Skin Conditions
Unusual skin discolorations or rashes could also be warning signs that COVID-19 is in your blood. A recent study in the British Journal of Dermatology indicated that a variety of abnormal skin manifestations are common symptoms of novel coronavirus. The skin manifestations found in the study included an itchy rash of raised welts called urticaria. Other skin conditions associated with COVID-19 are raised red bumps called erythemato-papular and a rash that looks similar to chickenpox called erythemato-vesicular. These and other rashes and skin discolorations associated with novel coronavirus might be connected to stagnant blood flow.
4. COVID Toes
Blood clots are also believed to be the source of abnormal skin manifestations on the toes, commonly called “COVID toes”. If you develop discolorations and lesions on your toes, these could be signs of COVID-19 in your blood. COVID toes are typically covered with red or purple discolorations, plus lesions or bumps. Hydrocortisone cream might help relieve the burning sensations or pain of COVID toes, and this condition usually clears up in two to three weeks. Severe cases will probably require support by a doctor or dermatologist.
3. Blood Clots in Lungs
Another warning sign of COVID-19 in the blood is when blood clots are found in the lungs. Called a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lung can block essential oxygen flow to major organs and be life-threatening. African-American patients seem to be highly susceptible to the lung clots linked to coronavirus, mainly found in the capillaries and smaller blood vessels. Most people that have developed these lung clots also have pre-existing conditions contributing to the severity of their COVID-19 symptoms.
2. Heart Damage and Heart Attack
An alarming warning sign of COVID-19 in the blood is having a heart attack or developing heart damage. Blood clots are again a large part of the issue. They can cause blockages in blood vessels that hinder the heart’s ability to function fully and properly. It’s also alarming how common heart damage from COVID-19 blood clots and inflammation has become. Even people without underlying heart conditions could find themselves developing some form of heart damage during or after recovery from the virus.
It’s shocking enough that having a stroke could mean COVID-19 is in your blood, but it’s even more shocking that coronavirus-related strokes are happening in people under 50. According to Loma Linda University Health, COVID-19 strokes have stricken people as young as 30 years old. Loma Linda University Health neurosurgeon, Dr. Miguel Lopez-Gonzalez, M.D., explained that buildup of plaque from coronavirus inflammation mainly causes stroke risk for people over 65, but can lead strokes in younger people, too. Stroke symptoms include sudden difficulty speaking, confusion, and weakness in the limbs and face.Related: 15 Stroke Signs Women Tend to Overlook