Are you a covid survivor? Congratulations! But if you thought that your troubles were over, think again. It turns out getting a covid negative certificate is only half the battle won. Post-covid conditions such as Lung Fibrosis are haunting those who have recovered from Covid19 and now getting admitted into the hospitals with mild and severe complications.
It does not matter whether people had mild symptoms or no symptoms when they were tested Covid positive as many of them are now flocking to the private hospitals with Mild and severe complications.
According to the doctors, the people who susceptible to post-covid conditions are from the upper age groups and also those with co-morbidities, but it doesn’t mean the young and otherwise healthy are immune to the after-effects.
While the numbers of such cases were lower in the first wave, the second wave has seen a much higher surge of patients. For some patients, the post-covid symptoms have been so severe, they had to be admitted into Intensive Care.
Post-covid conditions may fall into one of two categories-either the milder Long Covid conditions or the more dangerous Multi-organ Effects of Covid. Long Covid can consist of symptoms such as headache, tiredness, difficulty thinking or brain fog, dizziness on standing, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, cough, joint or muscle pain, or even anxiety and depression. Some of these symptoms may persist for weeks or even months.
The Multi-organ effects, as its name suggests, can affect most, if not all organs of the body, including the heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain. It can include conditions such as MIS (Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome) and auto-immune conditions.
Lung-related issues are the most common problems, with several recovered patients turning up with pneumonia and pulmonary fibrosis. The risk is especially higher in people with co-morbidities, as well as alcoholics and smokers.
On average, 75% of patients who had severe pneumonia will need hospitalization for 10-20 days so as to avoid their condition degrading into pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which lung tissue is scarred and thickened, making it hard for the lungs to work properly. The damage, once caused, is permanent.
As per Covid guidelines, patients are administered blood thinners. In spite of this, patients who have recovered are found to have clots. These blood clots can complicate conditions for such patients. In light of this, patients who have recovered may be asked by their doctors to get a D-Dimer test. These tests may show if there are any clots in the body, such as in the lungs.
A dislocated clot could end up being life-threatening by causing strokes, lung embolism, or heart attacks. Even though the exact cause is unknown, it is thought that the virus triggers some immune response that activates coagulation.
Patients who have had no underlying heart disease were soon found to be experiencing some sort of cardiac damage, once they had recovered from Covid. Complications include inflammation of the heart muscle which leads to increased chances of heart failure down the road.
Even though doctors advise covid survivors to be on the lookout for symptoms once discharged, such as exhaustion or difficulty breathing, it can be difficult to ascertain whether it’s the lungs taking time to heal, or a cardiac issue.
Precaution and Self Awareness
As grim as the scenario seems, most eventualities can be prevented, if we pay attention to the warning signs of the body. Recovered patients should get a comprehensive check up done, to make sure all parameters are within range. Even people who are tested positive but are under home quarantine, need to monitor themselves often. Take deep breaths to make sure you can breathe well, check your oxygen levels, and monitor your temperature often.
It is important to remember that though the long-term effects are still unknown, and different treatment methods are still being looked at, the perseverance and dedication of doctors do provide a glimmer of hope for us all. Until we have to go to them, the best way is of course precaution and prevention.