According to data, 50%- 80% of patients continue to experience symptoms three months after the onset of COVID 19 – even when after tests no longer detect virus in their body.
Remember, death is not the only outcome of COVID-19. Many people who survived infection are plagued with debilitating symptoms and side effects that can persist for several months.
- Lung damage: one study found out that among people who had been hospitalized with COVID-19, more that 70% reported shortness of breath and close to 16% was still using oxygen at home even a month after being discharged. The type of pneumonia often associated with COVID-19 can cause substantial damage to the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. The resulting scar tissue can lead to long-term breathing problems. Even mild infection can cause persistent shortness of breath. It can take several months for a person’s lung function to return to pre-COVID-19 levels.
- Heart damage: one study showed that 60% of people who recovered from COVID-19 had signs of ongoing heart inflammation which could lead tom the common symptoms of shortness of breath, palpitations and rapid heartbeat. COVID-19 can leave some people with heart problems including inflammation of the heart muscle. This may increase the risk of heart failure or other heart complications in the future. Imaging tests taken months after recovery from COVID-19 have shown lasting damage to the heart, even in people who experienced only mind COVID-19 symptom and those who had no medical issues before they got ill.
- Neurologic problems: some people develop medium to long term symptoms following COVID-19 infection including, headaches, dizziness, brain fog and chronic fatigue. Even in young people, COVID-19 can cause strokes, seizures and Guillain-Barre syndrome- a condition that causes temporary paralysis. COVID-19 may also increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. There are many ways the COVID-19 can damage the brain. Some effects can be devastating, such as encephalitis, lack of oxygen to the brain. There may also be persistent cognitive impairment and memory issues.
- Mental Health Issues: nearly 20% of COVID-19 patients developed a mental health issues within three months of diagnosis, according to one study. Another study found that those who had COVID-19 had twice the risk for developing a mood or anxiety disorder for the very first time. After surviving COVID-19, some people experience lingering anxiety, depression, substance abuse, insomnia and other mental health issues. Physical changes such as discomfort, pain and weakness can be complicated long by periods of isolation, stress from job loss and financial difficulties, grief and loss of good health.
- Other health impacts: people with COVID-19 report losing their sense of smell or taste entirely or that familiar things smell or taste strange. Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for severe cases of COVID-19, and some survivors of the illness seem to be developing T2D symptoms after recovery from COVID-19.
COVID-19 can have a long-lasting effect that impacts every single organs system in our body. Long- term effects can impact people of all ages including children and teenagers who have history of poor health or underlying conditions.