CHICAGO, 26 jun (Reuters) – scientists are just beginning to understand the serious dimension of the health problems caused by the coronavirus, some of which may have perceptible effects in patients for years, according to doctors and experts in infectious disease.
PHOTO OF FILE. A health worker attends to a patient with coronavirus (COVID-19), in the Intensive Care Unit of the Clinical Hospital of the University of Chile, on Independencia, Santiago, Chile. June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
In addition to respiratory deficiency that is plaguing the patients, the virus that causes the COVID-19 attacks many organs of the body, in some cases causing catastrophic damage.
“We thought that it was just a respiratory virus. But it turns out that comes to the pancreas, which attacks the heart. Going by the liver, the brain, kidneys, and other organs. We didn’t realize that at first,” said dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Institute Transnational corporation of La Jolla, California.
In addition to the breathing difficulty, patients with COVID-19 may experience disorders of blood clotting that can cause strokes and inflammation extreme that attacks multiple organs.
The virus can also cause neurological complications ranging from headaches, dizziness and loss of taste or smell to seizures and confusion. And the recovery may be slow, incomplete and expensive, with a great impact on the quality of life.
Demonstrations large and diverse COVID-19 represent a disorder unique, said dr. Sadiya Khan, cardiologist of the Center, Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.
In the case of influenza, for example, people with heart conditions, pre-existing also have a higher risk of complications, said Khan. But the amazing thing about this coronavirus is the extent of the complications that occur outside of the lungs.
Kahn believes that there will be a large expense and burden of medical care for people who have survived the COVID-19.
The patients were in the intensive care unit or connected to a respirator for weeks will need to spend a lot of time in rehabilitation to regain mobility and strength.
“It can take up to seven days for each day that you are hospitalized to regain that kind of strength,” said Kahn. “It’s more difficult when you have a more advanced age and it is possible to never go back to the same level of physical capabilities”.
While much of the focus has centred on the minority of patients who experience severe symptoms, doctors are paying increasingly more attention to the needs of the patients that were not sufficiently sick to require hospitalization, but who are still suffering from, months after becoming infected.
Although the symptoms of coronavirus are generally resolved in two or three weeks, it is estimated that 1 of every 10 patients experiences the symptoms of prolonged, wrote dr. Helen Salisbury, of the University of Oxford, in an article that appeared this week in the British Medical Journal.
Salisbury said that many of his patients have x-rays of the chest is normal and no sign of inflammation, but still have not returned to normal.
“If you previously ran for 5 kilometers three times a week and now you feel out of breath after a single flight of stairs, or if you cough endlessly and is too exhausted to return to work, then the fear of that never recover their previous health is very real,” he said.
Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; additional reporting by Caroline Humer and Nancy Lapid New York city. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo