Health problems left by the virus
A series of health problems seem to be left behind by the coronavirus.
According to Judy Londa, a 55-year-old Brooklyn art teacher, she developed coronavirus symptoms two days before the closure of schools in her state in mid-March. Londa explains to the New York Times that she was very ill for two weeks in a row with what she described as “intense and severe chest pain that felt as if a car had parked on her body, while she was almost unable to go from one room to the next “. But she avoided hospitalization, talking regularly to her doctor, an infectious disease specialist.
By May, she had recovered enough to be able to take walks in her neighborhood, gradually increasing the distances she covered. she expected to recover completely in time. But even today, six months after the infection, she is exhausted even when she climbs a short uphill and wonders if she will ever find her athletic, energetic, healthy self again. The symptoms remain despite the fact that the virus can no longer be detected in her body.
“I feel better for about five days, I can walk 1.5 kilometers or more and do yoga, and then I’m exhausted again for another five days,” she told the New York Times. “One by one, as if there was a switch, the same symptoms are repeated – a feeling of enormous weight in the chest, chills, sore throat, dry mouth, tingling in my hand, arrhythmias. I am getting ready to sleep and suddenly I can not breathe, I feel like I am drowning and I have to get up and walk. It’s really, really sad. “
The serious effects on health
The new virus also left behind a number of health problems she had never had before, such as a predisposition to diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart problems. After some time and talking to other coronavirus sufferers on Facebook, she discovered that others were experiencing the same persistent, recurring symptoms as her. Now that her students have returned to the classrooms, she is still teaching from a distance, as she does not have enough strength to return to school. At the beginning of the pandemic, doctors were forced to focus on acute coronavirus symptoms in order to save lives.
Research is now underway to assess its long-term effects, and to find methods to prevent and treat them. There are growing concerns that the pandemic will lead to a “significant increase in people suffering from chronic diseases and disabilities,” according to a publication in the journal Nature.
The unanswered questions
Commenting on The Lancet in September, an international team of infectious disease specialists said: “We do not know what to say to our patients when they ask us about the course and prognosis for the ongoing problems they face.” Among others , they ask: “Does severe coronavirus infection cause diabetes? Or other metabolic disorders? Will patients develop lung disease?
In addition, they wonder: “What symptoms can be attributed to the stress caused by a new disease and by isolation, and what are the secondary effects of a difficult coronavirus case?”. At the moment, what we do not know about the long-term effects of a potentially fatal viral infection far exceeds what we have learned.
Risk of infection even in mild cases
One very important thing we already know is that one does not need to be seriously ill to develop symptoms that persist for months – without ruling out the possibility that their duration can be measured in years. Even some who have had a mild illness continue to have side effects for months after recovering.The variety of symptoms that have been recorded is enormous. Unusual exhaustion from physical or mental activities, “brain fog”, unstable temperature, rashes, memory problems and insomnia are often mentioned. According to Dr. Dana McCarthy, a rehabilitation specialist at the Mount Sinai Post-Coronary Care Center, it seems as if the immune system’s response to the new virus is deregulating the nervous system.
Take SARS as an example
The long-term effects to those who survived the previous coronavirus, SARS, increase the anxiety of experts. According to the Mayo Clinic: “Many SARS patients have developed chronic exhaustion syndrome, a complex disorder characterized by extreme exhaustion that is exacerbated by physical and mental activity and does not improve with rest. The same can be said for the patients of today’s coronavirus “.
Coronavirus can cause problems in the lungs, heart and brain, increasing the risk of long-term health problems. According to Mayo experts, “Imaging tests performed months after recovery from coronavirus have shown persistent damage to the heart muscle, even in people who have experienced mild symptoms.” The disease can cause tiny clots that clog the capillaries of the heart and irreparably injure the heart muscle.
The major effects on the lungs
The coronavirus is capable of injuring the tiny air sacs of the lungs and causing long-term respiratory problems even after partial healing. For example, a distinguished -year-old artist from Washington, Marily Sapiro Aser, who remained active until the coronavirus infection in the spring, managed to overcome the symptoms and get out of the hospital.
Several months later she lost her life due to the damage caused by the deadly virus to her lungs, making them weak and filling the air sacs with fluid. In the case of SARS, research in patients 15 years after infection found that most lung recovery was completed within the first two years. But some mild pulmonary effects still affect more than a third of those who recovered.
The brain and its infection
The major problems caused by active coronavirus infection in the brain include strokes, convulsions and a type of temporary paralysis called Guillain-Barré syndrome. Many patients lose their sense of smell and taste during the infection, with some reporting that the symptom persists for months after they have recovered. Questions about whether the disease increases the risk of future neurological problems such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s remain unanswered. Severely ill coronavirus patients, especially those who have spent weeks or longer isolated in the ICU, whether or not they have been intubated, may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress and chronic anxiety and depression problems. Their mental trauma can result in recurring nightmares and phobias that prevent them from being left alone or even falling asleep.