The coronavirus known as Covid-19 has swept the world over the past several months. This largely unknown virus has caused considerable sickness and death across the planet. Science is in an unprecedented race to find the answers to the many questions that can help humanity prevent and cure this aggressive illness.
As new information is uncovered about Covid-19 every day by the medical and scientific communities, people are fighting to process the information in an organized way. The presence of social media and competing news agencies that tend to put their own biases on all reports have confused the stream of information to the public.
What we know so far is that Covid-19 is primarily spread through person-to-person contact. Those that have it may experience a range of experiences from showing no symptoms to a horrible and painful death. As we race toward a vaccine, the question of long term effects is starting to emerge.
Things like the connection between Covid-19 and Cardiac Arrest, the possibility of permanent lung damage and the disturbing neurological symptoms of recovered patients are still under investigation. As we move through this pandemic, there are a lot of things that we still need to understand. Here’s what we know so far about the possible long-term effects of Covid-19.
With any severe illness, there is an exaggerated strain on the heart and pulmonary systems. Patients with Covid-19 are experiencing increased inflammation and scarring of the delicate heart tissues. Doctors are seeing a startling number of patients succumbing to the strain of the illness through fatal cardiac arrest.
For hospitalized patients that are in recovery from Covid-19, nearly 20% are showing permanent heart muscle damage. This kind of damage could cause a variety of complications in the future, including cardiac arrest and stroke as well as worsening any existing cardiac problems.
We know that Covid-19 attacks the sensitive tissues of the lungs in a similar way to classic pneumonia. Even the mildest symptoms including a dry cough and painful breathing can go on for several weeks after recovery.
Doctors are seeing an alarming trend where 77% of recovered patients are showing some level of lung tissue scarring that will be permanent. This means that many patients could experience a future full of breathing problems, reduced lung capacity, and early development of COPD.
Younger patients with Covid-19 are showing higher than average numbers of blood clots present in the body. Scientists and doctors are unsure about the origins of this trend but warn that clots could cause many issues after recovery.
Blood clots that travel to other organs can be deadly. Along with the heightened risk of stroke, blood clots that travel to the lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism or renal failure if it reaches the kidneys.
Covid-19 can affect many different parts of the body, including the central nervous system. Many patients that have recovered are now experiencing neurological symptoms of damage. Many of the symptoms that include dizziness, confusion, a loss of taste or smell, and tingling in the extremities are thought to recede over time but, no one really knows. Many patients report that they are still dealing with symptoms several months after their recovery.
As the world continues to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, new facts will keep emerging. What we do know is that a percentage of COVID-19 patients report having an illness many times worse than they have ever experienced before. It’s important to continue to follow the safety and social distancing guidelines to help slow the spread of this unpredictable disease.