Fatigue, problems with performing simple activities, neurological and psychological complications – these are some of the consequences of severe COVID-19. According to scientists, it is necessary to develop recovery programs after coronavirus infection.
Researchers from the University of Michigan analyzed data on more than 1,250 COVID-19 patients during spring and summer at one of 38 hospitals in Michigan. Data was collected as part of the MI-COVID19 initiative, which collects information from all hospitals in the state. The results of the study indicate that the infection with the coronavirus has serious consequences.
Side effects after infection with COVID-19
Within two months of leaving the hospital, almost 7 percent died. COVID-19 patients. In the group that went to the intensive care unit, this percentage was even higher, amounting to 10%. As much as 15 percent went back to the hospital again.
Sixty days after leaving the hospital, the researchers also conducted telephone interviews with a group of 488 patients. It turned out that over 39 percent. interviewees have not returned to normal activities yet. As much as 12 percent of patients indicated that they cannot take care of themselves at the basic level or at the level they were before the disease. Almost 23 percent he was short of breath even after going one floor. One-third had persistent COVID-19-like symptoms, including changes in smell and taste.
In the group that had a job before contracting COVID-19, 40 percent. she could not come back, most of them due to health problems and some because of losing her job.
In turn, 26 percent. people who returned to work admitted that it was necessary to reduce the number of hours spent in work or to reduce the scope of duties due to health problems.
Nearly half of those polled said COVID-19 influenced their emotions, with a minority seeking help from mental health professionals.
The data collected as part of the study also shows that over 14 percent. people in the study group did not have chronic diseases before hospitalization due to COVID-19, and many suffered only from arterial hypertension. Known risk factors for the severe course of SARS-CoV-2 infection, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and kidney diseases, were present in a quarter of the respondents. The average age of the respondents was 62 years.
According to the researchers, there is a need to develop programs that will help support patients recovering from hospital treatment due to COVID-19.
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COVID-19 and chronic fatigue syndrome
COVID-19 can keep us immobilized in bed for a week or two, even if it is mild. Even after recovery, many people may still feel tired. These symptoms are called chronic fatigue syndrome and have been reported by people suffering from many viral diseases including the flu, SARS, and now COVID-19.
The World Health Organization has classified chronic fatigue syndrome under the group of “diseases of the nervous system.” It is defined as a complex medical condition characterized by prolonged fatigue and other symptoms that limit a person’s ability to carry out normal, daily activities.
Despite the word “fatigue”, symptoms can be broader and more debilitating than simple fatigue. They can include headache, dizziness, sleep disturbances, depression, and more severe neurological symptoms. Many COVID-19 patients report prolonged loss of smell. and taste.
The typical recovery time from COVID-19 is two weeks for patients with mild COVID-19 and up to eight weeks for those with severe infections, but there are people who have symptoms that last longer.
According to the WHO, in these people the symptoms may include not only extreme fatigue, but also persistent cough or exercise intolerance and it may take a long time for the body to recover.
People with severe COVID-19 pneumonia may take up to 6 months or more to recover from respiratory problems, and this is partly related to reduced mobility.
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“Brain fog” after COVID-19
People who have had a severe course of COVID-19 are at risk of “brain fog”. This applies not only to the way older but also to young adults. “Brain fog” is a non-medical term used to describe symptoms such as confusion, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, and problems with communication.
In addition to muscle loss, severe disease can result in cognitive decline. In addition to being able to increase the number of microclots in the brain, microstructural changes have been identified in the hippocampus and many other areas of the brain.
Sleep disorders after COVID-19
The emergence of sleep disorders in response to stressful events has been documented earlier. For many people, the pandemic has caused significant stress, anxiety and health concerns, social isolation, fear of losing employment, financial concerns, and the challenge of balancing work and family responsibilities. Such a stressful event can also disturb sleep and circadian rhythms.
The National Institute of Health report highlights an early stage study that revealed very high rates of clinically significant stress, anxiety and depression related insomnia. Experts inform about a lot of data on the so-called coronasomnia (i.e. insomnia related to COVID-19).
Some COVID-19 survivors fear falling asleep because they feel they will stop breathing while they sleep.
A survey of 3,800 convalescents in 56 countries found that 85 percent. of them reported cognitive impairment, 81% numbness and other neurological sensations, nearly half had difficulty speaking and nearly three-quarters had some difficulty at work.
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