Long COVID-19 Health Complications: Signs & Symptoms
- Anoush Gomes
- 4 Min Read
- Fact Checked
The COVID-19 second wave brought with it an astoundingly large number of cases. This means a large portion of the country has been infected by the virus – some have tragically lost their lives. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the medical community, many were able to survive the dangerous symptoms of the COVID-19 infection. But, it’s important to remember that recovery should be closely supervised by a medical professional as well. There are long term health complications of COVID-19 (this is also called Long COVID-19) that everyone should be aware about. These symptoms of Long COVID-19 can persist from 3 weeks to 1 year. Experts say that 30%-40% of COVID-19 patients have at least one symptom of Long COVID.
While the three vaccines available in the country (Covaxin, Covershield and Sputnik V) are able to reduce the severity of the symptoms should one contract the virus – it does not prevent an infection from taking place. Taking the vaccine is the right thing to do, but paying close attention to how your body recovers is also a priority.
COVID-19 symptoms can also last for months for some individuals, which can lead to lung, heart and brain damage. This gives ample leeway for risk of chronic health conditions. Read on to find out how the body can be affected systemically after recovery.
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Increased risk of heart failure
- Increased risk of heart attacks
As per experts, images of the heart from patients that have recovered from mild COVID-19 symptoms reveal damage to the organ’s muscle. This increases the possibility of the individual to experience complications with the heart as they get older.
The infected can also lead to clot formation due to their effect on blood cells. These clots – large or small – can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Breathing discomfort
- Lingering cough and chest tightness
- Lung scar tissue formation
A COVID-19 infection primarily affects the lungs. Some patients can have pneumonia during the infection. This constant stress on the lungs can lead to alveoli damage and scar tissue formation. Both of these make it harder for an individual to breathe comfortably. When some portion of lung is lost due to scarring, it leads to shortness of breath
If you’re dealing with increased stress and anxiety during this COVID-19 wave, watch the video below to understand how to cope with it.
The neurological symptoms might be a result of overstimulation of the immune system and the possibility of the virus affecting the brain and neurons directly can not be ruled out
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Reduced concentration
- Memory loss and brain fog
- Loss of taste and smell
- Increased risk of depression
- Anxiety attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Dizzy spells and confusion
Furthermore, other rarely but possible long term effects to the brain can include increased risk of stroke, seizures and Gullian barre syndrome. Some experts have also added that the damage done to the brain due to inadequate oxygen can also increase the risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s’ disease – but this has yet to be proven.
Watch the video below to learn from Dr. Shivakumar R speaks about neurology related compilation post a COVID-19 infection.
Other long term health complications of COVID-19:
- Liver and kidney damage due to leaky blood vessels
- Chronic fatigue with minimal effort
- Muscle aches
- Chronic headaches
There are other long term complications that are yet to be researched and understood as the world has faced the new challenge recently.
Get in touch with a medical professional if you test positive even in the absence of symptoms which can help with avoiding complications and Post-COVID-sequalae. If you or a loved one has recovered from a COVID-19 infection, make sure to monitor your recovery with a doctor. Make sure to let them know of any symptoms or discomfort you may be experiencing. Don’t delay treatment, and don’t self-diagnose – it’s important to be treated under the supervision of a medical expert.
Even after you’ve recovered from the COVID-19 infection, make sure to follow expert suggested precautionary methods. Practice social distancing, wear a mask, use a hand sanitizer regularly and get vaccinated. Before you’re vaccinated, speak with your doctor about when you last tested positive for the novel virus. They will be able to help you with the duration at which you can register for the vaccination. Discuss long term health complications of COVID-19 with your doctor, so you can further understand how to take care of your body.