As more victims recover from the coronavirus, some have found that the health complications experienced at the peak of their infection do not clear up completely once the infection is over. The medical profession is just beginning to understand how COVID-19 is impacting the long-term health of many people.
Based on the latest information available, it appears that most patients who have experienced mild COVID-19 symptoms can expect no long-term harm, according to experts. Dr. Amesh Adalja, a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America and a senior scholar at the John’s Hopkins University Center for Health Security in Baltimore, said “For the vast majority of people who get the coronavirus, they’re not going to have any long-term consequences for it.” Dr. Adalja further added, “it’s going to be like a cold or a flu and they go about their lives once they recovered a week or two from it.”
Lingering effects of a coronavirus infection on the body
In some cases, however, there are lingering effects upon the body in the aftermath of the infection. According to professor of infectious diseases and Associate Chief Medical Officer at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Bala Hota, many coronavirus patients still experience a feeling of tiredness and a mild cough after they have officially recovered from the virus and are no longer contagious. It can take a long time to reach “complete normal” after suffering this disease.
Here is a brief overview of how the coronavirus in some patients may cause long-term health issues:
How COVID-19 affects the lungs
Coronavirus patients who develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – a severe injury to the lungs that can be life-threatening – and require hospitalization in an ICU are more likely to suffer long-term effects, according to Adalja.
He also noted that some individuals with the disease sustained scarring to their lungs that is not completely reversible in many cases. This also occurs with various types of pneumonia that result in ARDS.
A long-term consequence for some of these patients is diminished lung capacity which includes reduced exercise capacity that leaves these individuals short of breath. Some coronavirus survivors are reported as having reduced lung function by as much as 20 to 30% after recovery.
The heart and COVID-19
Reportedly, 1 in 5 patients with COVID-19 in China suffered heart damage while in the hospital. According to another study, about 1 in 6 patients acquired arrhythmia. Other case reports, according to the American College of Cardiology, include individuals suffering cardiac arrest, heart attack, and acute onset heart failure after becoming infected with coronavirus.
Kidney abnormalities and COVID-19
According to the International Society of Nephrology, one 1/4 to 1/2 of patients who develop severe cases of COVID-19 have experienced kidney abnormalities. However, no evidence exists that the disease negatively affects the kidneys of those who only have a mild to moderate case of the infection.
COVID-19 and its effects on mental health
Cognitive and emotional effects are also possible from COVID-19, particularly from some ventilated patients who have suffered lack of oxygen or blood to the brain. Nervous system effects such as loss of taste and smell have been reported in some cases as well.
In conclusion: the medical profession is attempting to increase its understanding of all of the short and long-term effects of this new coronavirus. Long-term studies of COVID-19 survivors will likely provide the comprehensive understanding we need.
At Martin & Helms, we care about the citizens in the communities we serve throughout the state of Alabama. During the midst of this coronavirus crisis in our state, we are always here to provide you with the legal support you need. Feel free to call us in Huntsville or Decatur at 256.539.1990 or reach us through our contact form. We serve the Tennessee Valley, Athens, Madison, and other areas of North Alabama.