Although most patients with COVID-19 recover slowly within a few weeks, some people may have symptoms and complications of COVID for a long time. Many can suffer from a few weeks to a few months. Besides lungs, corona virus damages the patient's heart, kidneys, liver, circulatory system, and nervous system. There is hardly any organ left in the patient's body where the coronavirus does not carry out its destruction. This article will discuss the signs of Long COVID and long term effects of COVID-19.
Symptoms of Long COVID
Even after being COVID-19 negative, some symptoms of long COVID can last for several weeks to a few months. The commonly known symptoms of long COVID include: weakness, breathing problems, cough, bone or joint pain, chest pain, muscle aches, headache, palpitations, odor and tastelessness, loss of appetite, amnesia, inattention, sleep problems, stomach problems, hair loss, body rash, etc.
Although COVID initially attacks the lungs, the lungs are not the only target. It can also affect the other parts of the body. Depending on which organ is affected, the signs of Long COVID will be different.
What are the long term effects of COVID-19 infection upon health?
Coronavirus infection can damage the heart. Even after recovering from COVID-19 infections, tests may show damage in the heart. In the later stages of COVID, numerous cardiovascular complications might occur, including rapid heartbeat, heart failure, and heart attack.
According to a report from June 2020, 20-30% of COVID patients were admitted to the hospital with the effect on their heart muscle. Therefore, it behooves upon the COVID-19 survivor patients to take care of their heart's health through regular medical checkups as per consultation of heart specialists.
In COVID, the lungs are damaged to varying degrees. If a healthy lifestyle is maintained, the lungs start healing after COVID recovery. It is almost completely cured most of the time. However in some cases, the damage in lungs is aggravated when the affected area is wide. This is called lung fibrosis. It means that the patient may suffer from long-term complications of the lungs.
Several days after the COVID has healed, even a few months later, a CT scan of the lungs shows evidence of fibrosis or hardening of the lung tissue. These patients suffer from various problems ranging from shortness of breath to poor health, weight loss, lack of oxygen, etc.
COVID-19 can cause bleeding problems in the brain (stroke), convulsions, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and other issues, which is now proven by research. Scientists predict that the incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's will increase in those affected by corona.
Furthermore, the probability of dementia or amnesia will increase among COVID survivors. Scientists have named some of the problems of post-COVID patients as brain fog. It means that the patient will never get back to the old memory. However, this kind of health condition is rare.
Problems with blood vessels and blood clots
COVID increases the risk of blood clots in various blood vessels in the body. This is one of the major complications of COVID. For that, people at risk are given blood thinners in the hospital. But even if the patient gets better from COVID, this risk can stay for a long time. So, we see many people being hospitalized again with heart attack and brain stroke as post-COVID complications. In addition, blood clots in the lungs, kidneys, and leg veins can cause various health issues.
Weakness and mental problems
Physical weakness and fatigue are not uncommon for many, even patients whose symptoms were mild and who were in isolation at home. However, the problem is more common among the people who required a high-dependency unit (HDU) or intensive care unit (ICU) for corona and whose symptoms were severe.
Most patients with coronavirus face a variety of psychological problems and disasters after recovery. Depression, restlessness, posttraumatic stress syndrome, tendency to forget, mild temper tantrums, irritable mood, etc. are some of them.
Various digestive problems
After recovery, many people suffer from various stomach illnesses for a long time. Some of them include flatulence, abdominal pain, constipation, loose stools, loss of appetite, etc. However, suffering from loose stools is most common. This happens due to the impact of COVID-19 infection and eating habits. However, in most cases, the consumption of additional antibiotics creates digestive problems.
Kidney and liver problems
Especially those who are already suffering from various kidney and liver diseases may experience further health problems. Kidneys or liver can get damaged or become dysfunctional due to the temporary or long-term effects of the COVID-19 infection. Therefore, liver or kidney patients need to be careful during the post-COVID period.
Corona sufferers may experience health problems in their lungs, heart, brain, or other organs of the body, which can have a temporary or long-term effect on their sleep. They might face problems in falling asleep easily or waking up repeatedly. Many COVID survivors can have nightmares in their sleep. Besides these, Sleep disturbances may occur due to stress. Again, lack of normal sleep increases physical and mental problems.
Who suffers most?
Surprisingly, Long COVID Syndrome does not depend on the severity of the patient's COVID-19 infection. From acute COVID to mild COVID patients, anyone can have it. However, the elderly and those with other chronic diseases are more likely to have long COVID. However, young, fit, and healthy people are also seen facing the long COVID effects.
Recovering from COVID-19, or tested corona negative, or getting discharged from the hospital does not mean the end of all suffering. The patients are experiencing multifarious health issues such as, Post-COVID diabetes, surprising fluctuations in blood pressure, problems in body-organs like thyroid, pancreas, etc. Many people are suffering from Long COVID, many are dying of new complications even after tested COVID-negative. COVID patients can fall into complications before they understand anything well.
Corona Virus constantly astonishes scientists. As the days go by, something new is being learned. Since COVID-19 is still a comparatively new disease, enough research hasn't been done yet. To date, it is not entirely clear what the consequences of this disease will be.
Therefore, prevention is still the main weapon. During the post-Covid recovery stage, each patient need to be extra careful about the health and stay under the supervision of regular doctor.