‘Covid may have long-term impacts’

Health specialists say patients recovered from disease invariably experience health issues, including damage to lungs, diabetes

By   |  Published: 8th Aug 2020  12:24 amUpdated: 8th Aug 2020  1:11 am
People getting tested at a Mobile Testing Lab in Golconda on Friday. — Photo: Rajesh Narre

Hyderabad: Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, public health specialists and doctors across Hyderabad and from other parts of the country are now reporting the long-term impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on patients who have recovered from the disease. Senior doctors in Hyderabad have warned that despite completing the ten-day home isolation period, the recovered patients should be wary of long-term implications of Covid-19.

Moreover, patients who were infected with moderate and severe symptoms, invariably experience a number of long-term health issues, they said. On a daily basis, anywhere between 1,000 and 1,200 persons with mild Covid-19 symptoms stand discharged after their mandatory 10-day home isolation in Telangana. After the 10-day period, the recovered patients are being directed to continue their home isolation for one-more week and continue their self-monitoring.

Permanent damage to lungs

While there have been no conclusive studies on the count of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 in India, many doctors from Hyderabad and elsewhere, based on their observations, have talked about the risks of permanent damage to the lungs among patients who had suffered from moderate to severe symptoms.

A few days ago, the medical community in the country was baffled when the doctors at the noted KEM Hospital in Mumbai came across Covid-19 recovered patients who got themselves readmitted with complications of the lungs. According to reports, none of the patients had any history of lung injury or had any breathing problems while they were getting discharged after recovering from Covid-19.

It turned out that 22 of the Covid-19 recovered patients from KEM Hospital, who were readmitted, developed pulmonary fibrosis, a medical condition in which severe scarring of tissues in the lungs occurs. In pulmonary fibrosis, the thickened lung tissue makes it difficult to breath and as the disease progresses, patients struggle with shortness of breath. The damage to the lungs due to pulmonary fibrosis is permanent. Quite often in severe cases, doctors usually go for lung transplantation among such patients.

Diabetes

In Hyderabad, there have been instances where non-diabetic patients have developed diabetes after testing positive for Covid-19. “Covid itself is increasing the blood sugars of the patients. Due to Covid, we are using steroid medications, including Dexamethasone which increases blood sugars. Due to the disease, patients tend to be under a lot of stress. We all know that stress is a huge factor for rise in blood sugars among individuals. One third of the patients who have underlying diabetes or no diabetes, are developing diabetes,” a senior doctor said.

As a result of the high blood sugars levels, doctors here are employing high doses of insulin for management and continuous monitoring of Covid-19 patients.

 


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