What Happens to Our Body after Recovery from Covid-19
The Coronavirus leaves a lasting imprint on our health – one way or another. A new study shows that even those who have overcome the infection and are officially considered healthy are not always feeling well. They suffer from muscle pains, fatigue and mental disorders such as panic attacks and depressions - these are the most common long-term consequences of infection, write scientists in the authoritative Lancet medical journal, writes Julia Vergin for Deutsche Welle.
Their data show that and six months after the end of the acute phase of the disease, about two-thirds of patients treated in hospital continue to suffer from subsequent symptoms. "Our analysis shows that after discharge from the hospital, most patients continue to experience the impact of coronavirus infection, which is why special care and rehabilitation after discharge is needed, especially for those who had a severe course of the infection," said Bin Tsao, one of the study's authors.
Scientists examined 1,733 people discharged between January 7 and May 29, 2020 from a hospital in Wuhan. People had an average age of 57, most of them in need of lung ventilation.
Patients were re-examined after discharge - between mid-June and early September last year - and scientists found that 76% of them had at least one residual symptom.
Fatigue, mental complaints
Some 63 percent said they experienced fatigue and/or muscle weakness, 26 percent had trouble sleeping and 23 percent suffered from fears or depressions. The researchers found that women more often had mental health complaints than men.
In addition, laboratory tests showed that 13 percent of patients whose kidneys functioned normally during the hospital stay turned out to have impaired kidney function after the re-examination.
In patients who had COVID-19 in a particularly severe form, even months later impaired lung functions and insufficient supply of oxygen to the body were found.
Study’s weak points
The work of Chinese scientists overlaps with the results of other previous studies on the long-term consequences of COVID-19. Still, the Chinese study also has some weaknesses. For example, the proportion of patients studied with chronic lung and heart disease is relatively small. And the data for these people is not based on doctor's examinations, but on the evidence of the patients themselves, whose judgments are sometimes also inaccurate. It is also pointed out as a drawback that no studies have been done on people who have had the disease in mild form.
"This fact could distort the data concerning the number of people suffering long-term consequences after the Covid infection," says Yordis Fromhold, chief medical officer of the respiratory diseases unit at the Median Rehabilitation Clinic in the German city of Heiligendamm.
Fromhold points out that the most common residual symptoms she noticed among her patients were the presence of fatigue and muscle weakness. However, the doctor also had patients complaining of neurological problems, joint pain and hair loss. They all felt insecure — they didn't understand what was going on with them.
Patients between the ages of 30 and 65 are currently being treated at the clinic in Heiligendam, where rehabilitation is taking place. Chief medical officer Fromhold said most of them never managed to recover from the infection and restore their usual work-life balance.
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