US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — What are the long-term effects of the new covid-19 virus? Do some of them really stay with people for life?
Every day we learn more and more information about the new coronavirus and obtain previously unknown data. This is due to the fact that up to 80% of people infected with this virus do not have symptoms, or they appear several days or even weeks after infection. In many of them, the disease proceeds in a mild form without any complications.
According to the World Health Organization, people whose illness is mild can recover within two weeks, while others can recover from three to six weeks.
Nevertheless, according to doctors, the new virus can penetrate the cells of many important organs, including the heart, kidneys, brain and even blood vessels, so the question immediately arises: does infection with coronavirus become a cause of chronic diseases?
Joseph Brennan, a cardiologist at Yale University School of Medicine, said he and other experts are concerned that some people who have had coronavirus will have long-term health problems associated with damage to their lungs, heart, and nervous system and intelligence.
According to the National Health Service of Great Britain, among patients with coronavirus requiring hospitalization, 45% will need long-term medical supervision, 4% – rehabilitation, and 1% – constant medical care.
The following are examples of long-term complications that can occur in people with coronavirus, regardless of age.
1. Scarring in the lungs
Due to coronavirus disease, scars may appear in the lungs. Scar tissue reduces the ability of the lungs to absorb air and turn it into oxygen. A person has a constant feeling of discomfort in the lungs and a dry cough.
According to Brennan, such complications arise due to the fact that coronavirus provokes a serious immune response, so the voids in the lungs are filled with pus, which makes the lungs less flexible.
In computed tomography images, healthy lungs should appear black, but the lungs of patients with covid-19 often have gray spots, which is called the “frosted glass” symptom, and damaged areas may not be able to repair.
According to Ali Gulyam Razani Zayed, a radiologist at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, these changes in lung tissue can be irreversible.
2. Stroke and blood coagulation
Many hospitalized patients with covid-19 suffer from blood clots, leading to pulmonary embolism, stroke, heart attacks, and other serious long-term complications.
A blockage of blood vessels in the brain can also cause a stroke, and although strokes are more likely to occur in older people, strokes are also reported today even among young patients. For example, in Wuhan, China, about 5% of hospitalized patients suffered a stroke, and a similar pattern was observed with SARS.
Young people who have had a stroke have relatively low mortality rates compared with older people, and many recover. However, according to studies, only 42 to 53% of them are able to return to work.
3. Heart lesions
According to doctors, coronavirus can affect the heart muscle, causing inflammation, since the heart contains a large amount of ACE2 protein, which, according to scientists, is the point of entry of coronavirus into the body’s cells.
“Doctors in China have noticed that some people complain of heart pain. They have a heart attack and have symptoms of coronavirus infection, ”said Mitchell Elkind, president of the American Heart Association and professor of neurobiology and epidemiology at Columbia University.
According to reports, the new coronavirus can cause acute myocarditis and heart failure.
4. Renal failure
When the disease proceeds in a severe form, blood coagulation is impaired, which can lead to the appearance of small clots and blockage of blood vessels.
Impaired blood vessels can also affect the kidneys. In addition, there is scientific evidence that the virus can directly affect the kidneys.
If pneumonia is detected in patients with coronavirus and a ventilation is required, the virus has a serious effect on the kidneys, as pneumonia causes the formation of large amounts of water around the lungs.
In this case, doctors prescribe a patient diuretics that help to remove fluid from the body, and therefore the kidneys are more active than usual. Meanwhile, disruption of blood vessels due to the appearance of clots further aggravate the condition of the kidneys.
“Almost all patients with pneumonia and connected to ventilators also had kidney problems,” said Jan Christoph Galle, head of the German Society of Nephrology, to Der Spiegel.
In the course of studies of the work of the kidneys, it was found that due to coronavirus disease, the kidneys cannot fully perform their functions.
“Based on a urine test, half of the patients found to have blood and protein, which is an early sign of kidney damage,” said The Washington Post, Alan Kliger, a nephrologist at Yale University School of Medicine.
According to Kliger, similar serious complications were recorded in 14-30% of cases in New York and Wuhan, where patients even needed kidney dialysis.
5. Implications for the nervous system and intelligence
Coronavirus also affects the central nervous system, which can have long-term health effects. One Chinese study found that more than a third of 214 hospitalized patients had neurological symptoms, including dizziness, headache, impaired consciousness, vision problems, and loss of taste and smell.
Long-term complications after infection with coronavirus (caused by the virus itself or by inflammation created by it) may include impaired attention, concentration and memory, as well as damage to the peripheral nervous system.
6. Male infertility
According to researchers, covid-19 can lead to special consequences for men’s health. In a letter to the International Journal of Urology, the scientist Ali Raba explained that the testes contain a large number of ACE2 receptors, and therefore there is a theoretical probability of their damage and subsequent infertility after infection with coronavirus.
According to the study, 81 men with coronavirus were found to have problems with male hormone levels, which may indicate a decrease in fertility.
“After recovery, young people who want to have children should be consulted about their fertility,” says a scientific article published in the journal Nature in April.
7. Smell and taste
A sudden loss or worsening of smell can be a symptom of coronavirus infection. Young people with this disease are more likely to have no symptoms, such as fever and cough. This means that a sudden loss of smell can indicate a hidden carrier of the coronavirus.
As you know, coronavirus penetrates into the nasal tissue through ACE2 receptors and can cause temporary damage to the olfactory nerves. However, this symptom appears to disappear within one to two weeks after infection.
Although the sense of smell returns to most people reporting these symptoms, it is too early to judge how many people can lose it forever.
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