Much has been said in recent months about COVID, its symptoms, how to avoid infection and the tests that can be performed in case of doubts about possible infection or simply to be able to travel.
But what is even more unknown are all the post-COVID conditions that can cause this disease in the short and long term, especially long-term conditions that are beginning to be seen now.
These conditions are not the same all over the world and may be related to the level of COVID involvement the patient has had.
In patients who have been hospitalized and intubated for a long time in the ICU, there may be problems of pulmonary fibrosis, i.e. permanent damage to the lung that prevents gas exchange in that area. In addition, cardiovascular conditions and thrombi are common in these patients.
Other conditions may also occur:
The most common are anosmias (loss of smell, in many cases lasting months after the disease), headaches which affect 40-60% of those infected and which in some patients become chronic and myalgias (muscle pain).
Other less frequent but more serious neurological post-COVID cinditions are epileptic seizures, neurological deficits and even stroke or diseases such as Guillain-Barré or Miller Fisher syndromes.
Occasionally, as a product of the inflammatory phenomenon, hyperreactivity occurs which is seen in the form of urticaria on the skin, as well as a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium.
The most common sequela is dyspnea, which refers to the sensation of shortness of breath maintained by some patients after passing the disease.
In many cases this dyspnea is caused by deficits in muscle strength, but in others it is marked by very extensive bilateral pneumonias. In the most severe cases these can also cause pulmonary fibrosis.
This has been one of the most worrisome problems in coronavirus, with myocarditis or even sudden death in some patients. This would also include thrombus problems derived from prolonged hospitalization.
In the medium to long term, the effects that this disease may have on the heart are still unknown, and it is not known if in the future the coronavirus will cause a greater number of heart failures, if it will increase the risk of arrhythmias, coronary accidents or sudden death.
In some people who have passed COVID, losses in cognitive and planning ability have been observed.
Associated with the diagnosis and the pandemic situation itself, cases of anxiety, stress and insomnia have been detected, and in situations of loss of a loved one, depression, post-traumatic stress and complications in the assimilation of grief are added.
In short, there is still much to be discovered about the long-term sequelae of this disease and it is likely that in the coming years more diseases associated with COVID will appear, but we will have to wait a while to find out their implications.
Ruiz, M. (2020). El impacto de la COVID-19 tras la enfermedad: los especialistas analizan sus secuelas. Revista Española de Economía de la Salud. https://economiadelasalud.com/topics/difusion/el-impacto-de-la-covid-19-tras-la-enfermedad-los-especialistas-analizan-sus-secuelas/