The majority of people who suffer from COVID-19 recover within a few weeks. However, some patients may continue to feel symptoms long after they have become COVID-19 negative. Older individuals and the patients suffering from comorbidities are most likely to suffer these prolonged symptoms, but the symptoms may persist in younger and otherwise normal people.
The symptoms that normally persist are severe fatigue, continuous cough and shortness of breath, joint pains and general myalgia. Other people may also complain of prolonged loss of sense of smell and taste, chest pain and problems in memory, concentration and problems in sleep.
Many recovered patients continue to have what is known as the chronic fatigue syndrome, These patients suffer from extreme fatigue which is worsened not only by physical but mental activity also. This fatigue is continuous and debilitating and does not even recover after rest.
In some cases these long term effects may be more sinister and need to be looked out from. A COVID-19 infection may leave lasting damage to the heart muscles. These patients are prone to further complications and heart failure later in life. The possibility of impending heart failure can be checked by doing NT pro BNP levels.
There may also be permanent damage to the lungs that can lead to fibrosis of the lungs and damage to the arealar spaces. This can lead to breathing problems and one needs to be aware. It is best to practice some breathing exercises so that the lung capacity can be increased.
COVID-19 can cause the formation of micro clots in the blood vessels and these can lead to strokes in later life Brain. It is also well known that some people may also have Guillain-Barre syndrome which is a kind of paralysis. People who are older are at the risk of developing early onset of degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Although post COVID-19 complications may occur in some patients it is important to remember that most patients will fully recover from COVID 19 infection. However, being aware of the conditions and a follow up will help in early and complete recover
Blood clots and blood vessel problems
COVID-19 can make blood cells more likely to clump up and form clots. While large clots can cause heart attacks and strokes, much of the heart damage caused by COVID-19 is believed to stem from very small clots that block tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the heart muscle.
Other parts of the body affected by blood clots include the lungs, legs, liver and kidneys. COVID-19 can also weaken blood vessels and cause them to leak, which contributes to potentially long-lasting problems with the liver and kidneys.
Problems with mood and fatigue
People who have severe symptoms of COVID-19 often have to be treated in a hospital’s intensive care unit, with mechanical assistance such as ventilators to breathe. Simply surviving this experience can make a person more likely to later develop post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and anxiety.
Because it’s difficult to predict long-term outcomes from the new COVID-19 virus, scientists are looking at the long-term effects seen in related viruses, such as the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Many long-term COVID-19 effects still unknown
Much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will affect people over time. However, researchers recommend that doctors closely monitor people who have had COVID-19 to see how their organs are functioning after recovery.
Many large medical centers are opening specialized clinics to provide care for people who have persistent symptoms or related illnesses after they recover from COVID-19.
It’s important to remember that most people who have COVID-19 recover quickly. But the potentially long-lasting problems from COVID-19 make it even more important to reduce the spread of the disease by following precautions such as wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and keeping hands clean.