Wednesday, December 07, 2022

This is how COVID-19 can damage the lungs in the long run

This is how COVID-19 can damage the lungs in the long run

Long-lived COVID includes a wide range of symptoms from mental fogginess, fatigue and cough to shortness of breath (Getty).

Pulmonologists and physicians who receive their patients for health checkups hear daily stories of people who have been cured months ago SARS-CoV-2 infection Those who experience long-term symptoms that affect their quality of life.

Call Prolonged COVID, Prolonged COVID or Post COVID Syndrome It brings together a variety of symptoms and conditions in organs that go beyond the respiratory system and that are specific to the systemic inflammatory conditions that coronaviruses cause in the body.

This picture shows one in five adults recovering from a viral infection who, two years and five months after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, already considered it a public health problem in its own right, beyond the disease. keeps. It is that although people have survived the life-threatening stage of illness, they still have to deal with consequences that prevent them from doing laundry from physical exercise.

Long-term COVID includes a wide range of symptoms: From mental confusion, fatigue and cough to shortness of breath.

Long-Lived Covid Includes A Wide Range Of Symptoms From Mental Fogginess, Fatigue And Cough To Shortness Of Breath (Getty).
Long-lived COVID includes a wide range of symptoms from mental fogginess, fatigue and cough to shortness of breath (Getty).

and although Not all breathing problems are related to the lungsIn many cases the lungs are affected.

To this point, in an article published by University of Virginia critical care and pulmonary medicine experts, Jeffrey M. Sturek and Alexandra Kadal said that “observing the basic functions of the lungs and how they may be affected by disease can help clarify whether COVID-19 is waiting for some patients after infection.

This Is How Covid-19 Can Damage The Lungs In The Long Run

To begin with, it is worth knowing that The main function of the lungs is to bring oxygen-rich air into the body and expel carbon dioxide., As air flows into the lungs, it draws very close to the blood, where oxygen diffuses into the body and carbon dioxide moves out.

“There are more than 20 divisions in the airway, from the trachea to the tiny balloons at the end of the airways, called alveoli, which are in close contact with blood vessels,” explained the experts. By the time an oxygen molecule reaches the end of the airway, there are about 300 million of these tiny alveoli, with a total surface area of ​​more than 100 square meters where gas exchange takes place.”

And noting that “matching evaporation and perfusion rates is critical to basic lung function,” experts noted that “damage to any part of the airway can cause shortness of breath in a number of ways.”

1- Obstruction: decrease in air flow

One form of lung disease is a blockage of air flow in and out of the body.

Restriction Reduces The Volume Of The Lungs And, Consequently, The Amount Of Air They Can Take (Getty)
Restriction reduces the volume of the lungs and, consequently, the amount of air they can take (Getty)

There are two common reasons for such deficiencies: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, “In these diseases, the airways become constricted due to damage from smoking, as is common in COPD, or allergic inflammation, as is common in asthma. In either case, patients are unable to expel air from their lungs. Difficulty is experienced.”

The researchers observed that some of the recovered COVID-19 patients continued to block airflow.

2- Restriction: reduced lung volume

Another form of lung disease is known as restriction or difficulty expanding the lungs., The restriction reduces the volume of the lungs and, consequently, the amount of air they can inhale.

“Restriction often results in the formation of scar tissue, also known as fibrosis, in the lungs due to injury,” the pulmonologist detailed. Fibrosis thickens the walls of the alveoli, making it difficult for gases to exchange with the blood.

For Covid-19 Patients Requiring Mechanical Ventilation, Their Recovery Rate May Be Similar To Those For Other Conditions Needing Ventilators (Getty)
For COVID-19 patients requiring mechanical ventilation, their recovery rate may be similar to those for other conditions needing ventilators (Getty)

These types of scars can occur in chronic lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosisor as a result of severe lung damage in a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS.

ARDS can be caused by injuries that begin in the lungs, such as pneumonia, or by severe disease in other organs, such as pancreatitis.

According to statistics, about 25% of patients who recover from ARDS have restrictive lung disease.

The researchers also found that patients recovering from COVID-19Those who have had severe disease, in particular, may later develop restrictive lung disease.

Similarly, the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients who require mechanical ventilation may also be similar to those who require ventilators for other conditions.

Two Common Causes Of Such Deficiencies Are Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease And Asthma.
Two common causes of such deficiencies are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

3- Altered perfusion: decreased blood flow

In the end, even when airflow and lung volume Unaffected, the lungs cannot fulfill their function if blood flow to the alveoli, where gas exchange occurs, is impaired.

COVID-19 is known to be associated with an increased risk of blood clots. And if “blood clots travel to the lungs, they can cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism that restricts blood flow to the lungs,” the doctors explained. In the long run, blood clots can also cause chronic problems with blood flow to the lungs, a condition called chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, or CTEPH.”

There is evidence that severe infection by COVID-19 can directly damage the blood vessels of the lungs and affect blood flow during recovery.

Long-Lasting Covid Is An Opportunity To Study The Mechanisms Underlying The Development Of A Variety Of Lung-Related Conditions (Getty)
Long-lasting COVID is an opportunity to study the mechanisms underlying the development of a variety of lung-related conditions (Getty)

Then, It is known that with any of these diseases the lungs may function less optimally.And that COVID-19 could lead to them all.

Therefore, for physicians, closely monitoring patients who have recovered from COVID-19, especially those with persistent symptoms, over a longer period of time can lead to rapid diagnosis of COVID. and therefore better treat the symptoms.

Epidemic experience shows that severe cases of COVID-19 are associated with higher rates of COVID-19 over a longer period of time. Other risk factors for developing long-term symptoms include pre-existing type 2 diabetes, and certain types of abnormal immune function.

For researchers, long-term COVID is an opportunity to study the mechanisms underlying a variety of lung conditions as a result of COVID-19 infection. It also allows an exploration of how and why other infections can cause persistent and sometimes debilitating symptoms for a person and their quality of life.

Uncovering these mechanisms will allow researchers to develop targeted treatments to accelerate recovery and bring more patients back to their pre-pandemic lung capacity.

read on

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