A young woman was left with a heart condition which can see her heart rate skyrocket to 180bmp climbing a set of stairs – after a gruelling battle with coronavirus.
Evie Connell, 23, developed tachycardia, a condition that causes an abnormally high heart rate of over 100bpm, after contracting covid in March before the lockdown.
Before she became ill, Evie was fit and healthy, and enjoyed attending university, working in a convenience store and going to the gym.
But 10 months on Evie is still feeling the effects of the virus and has been left unable to go outside by herself, terrified she could collapse due to her excessive heart rate.
Evie, who lives in Dundee, said: “It’s scary to think I was this girl who was used to going to work and uni and the gym and now I can’t even go outside by myself.
“I never thought this would happen to me, I thought I would be ill for a few weeks, that it would be like having the flu and then I would be fine.
“But it has worked out completely differently.”
Evie fell ill in March with excruciating migraines and a high temperature – she suspected it was covid but wasn’t able to get tested and suffered at home in bed for 18 days.
In April she went for a short walk but found herself having trouble breathing and called 101 when her smart watch recorded her heart rate at 140bpm.
A normal resting heart rate which is between 60 to 100bpm.
Medics told her she could be at risk of having a blood clot and Evie raced to the hospital where she was examined but later released.
Evie, who is studying marketing and business at Aberty University said: “I had had the flu that winter so I knew it wasn’t that.
“At the time I thought it was covid, but you couldn’t get tested unless you were in hospital.
“I was ill for about 18 days and during that time I developed a cough and was really breathless.
“In April I went for a walk around the block, I was going at pensioner pace, but my heart rate was up at 140bpm, and I was really out of breath.
“It stayed that way for about half an hour even after I got home and then I called 101 because I was worried.
“They told me to go straight to hospital because I could have a blood clot – thankfully I didn’t, and I just had some test and an X-ray done.”
Evie was signed off work for six months with her sick line stating she has suspected long covid and tachycardia as a result of contracting the virus.
She was told in Novemeber she could face waiting up to a year to see a cardiologist on the NHS and has decided to go private instead.
Evie said: “Even walking up a flight of stairs my heart rate would be 180bmp which is nor normally for anyone, let alone a 23-year-old.
“I was putting on the NHS waiting list to see a cardiologist in November but was told I could wait up to a year for an appointment, so I have decided to go private.
“I can go out for a walk but even then, my heart rate would be through the roof, and I am too scared to go out alone now in case I collapse.
“I had to get physio to learn what my new limits were day to day – at the start I couldn’t even do simple things like housework.
“I had to find out what I can do without my heart rate shooting right up.
“I don’t think there is enough being done to help people with long covid, if I don’t go back to work I have no financial back up, and it’s not a comfortable way to live.
“People have to realise that this can happen to anyone.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re young and healthy – anyone can get it.
“It has completely changed my life.
“People have to stay safe, it’s not worth people taking the risk.”