COVID Side Effects & Diseases

I am not a doctor or a medical professional. The content in this site is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for medical advice. Please do not delay seeking or disregard medical advice because of something you’ve read on this site.

The bottom line is that the new coronavirus infection has profound effects on many different organ systems in the body. The good news is that we expect that the damage caused by COVID-19 will heal in the vast majority of patients. However, it is important to appreciate that some long-term conditions can be anticipated, and prevented or managed to benefit patients.

William Petri, Professor of Medicine, University of Virginia. Quoted from an article republished from The Conversation.

One point everyone agrees on: we’re still learning about this disease, and we have much yet to learn. These are the long term effects I found through my research, but a year from now, we may know about many more.


Reinfection

  • Symptoms: second bout with COVID-19 after clearing of symptoms from first infection
  • Who’s Affected: unknown. Doctors & medical experts are still trying to ascertain whether this is real or attributable to something else.
  • How Common: unknown
  • Duration: various stories are emerging about people who originally contracted COVID, got over it, and then became sick again.
  • Sources: a) Can you get COVID twice?; b) Healthline report c) Experts say reinfection is unlikely.

Post-COVID Lung Disease

  • Symptoms: chronic lung problems, fluid in the lungs, scar tissue in the lungs, shortness of breath
  • Who’s Affected: primarily people who have been treated in ICU.
  • How Common: unknown
  • Duration: possibly lifetime, but a study of health care workers in China who contracted SARS found that most of them were healed within two years.
  • Sources: a) report from doctors in UK & Scotland; b) Long term health effects of COVID-19

Heart Disease

  • Symptoms: damage to heart muscle cells
  • Who’s Affected: people who had severe cases and experienced “cytokine storm” triggered by virus
  • How Common: unknown
  • Duration: unknown
  • Sources: a) COVID-19 may leave lingering marks

Central Nervous System Disease

  • Symptoms: neurologic clinical findings and psychological findings; PTSD; cognitive defects
  • Who’s Affected: people who had severe cases and experienced “cytokine storm” and/or severe inflammation triggered by virus
  • How Common: unknown
  • Duration: unknown
  • Sources: a) COVID-19 may leave lingering marks

Post-COVID Kidney Disease

  • Symptoms: moderate to severe acute kidney injury
  • Who’s Affected: people who were hospitalized for COVID, mostly older people but some younger people as well
  • How Common: Nephrologist in UK said that 20-30% of patients hospitalized for COVID were affected, and 30% of patients admitted to ICU affected.
  • Duration: a few years to life
  • Sources: a) report from doctors in UK & Scotland

Post-viral fatigue syndrome

  • Symptoms: chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, sleep problems
  • Who’s Affected: people who have had a serious viral infection. Experts fear that COVID will be one of those viruses that cause the syndrome. Primarily older people.
  • How Common: May be fairly common. See the CDC study.
  • Duration: a few months to 3 years. In the original SARS epidemic, almost half of the survivors interviewed 3 years later complained of fatigue.
  • Sources: a) fears of post-viral fatigue syndrome; b) CNN report on young people recovering from COVID

MIS-C – multisystem inflammatory syndrome in Children


Confusion / Delirium

  • Symptoms: confusion, difficulty in paying attention, reduced awareness of person, place, and time; reduced ability to interact with others
  • Who’s Affected: primarily people treated in ICU
  • How Common: Comparatively rare overall, but not so rare for people treated in ICU for all types of diseases
  • Duration: a few months to a year
  • Sources: a) Long term side effects of COVID-19;

Blood Clots

  • Symptoms: high blood pressure; if clots break off from blood vessels, they can migrate to the lung and cause a pulmonary embolism or go to the brain and cause a stroke.
  • Who’s Affected: critically ill COVID-19 patients
  • How Common: Up to 1/4 of critically ill patients
  • Duration: a few months to a year
  • Sources: a) Long term side effects of COVID-19; Thrombosis Research paper

Diabetes

  • Symptoms: frequent urination, blurry vision, numb hands or feet, fatigue, very dry skin, slow healing sores or cuts
  • Who’s Affected: mostly hospitalized COVID-19 patients
  • How Common: fairly rare, but long term causation unknown
  • Duration: once you develop diabetes it’s a chronic condition
  • Sources: a) Can COVID-19 trigger diabetes?

PTSD / Depresssion

  • Symptoms: distress; nightmares and flashbacks; avoidance of places, people, and events that caused initial stress; emotional numbness; sleep disorders; difficulty concentrating.
  • Who’s Affected: survivors of serious illness, medical professionals, families of survivors & medical professionals
  • How Common: fairly common in the affected groups. After initial SARS outbreak, about 1/5th of all health professionals treating victims developed PTSD
  • Duration: a few months to 3 years or more
  • Sources: a) Survivors of COVID-19 at high risk for PTSD

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