Medical experts warn of long-term effects of COVID-19

(Gray tv)
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 10:56 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - It’s well known that COVID-19 affects everyone differently. Some people can catch the virus and recover with out ever knowing they had it, then others unfortunately end up on ventilators in the hospital.

It’s also now known that the recovery is different for everyone as well, with some having effects of the virus pop up again months later.

“We’ve seen arrhythmia and heart problems. Everything from heart failure to blood clotting disorders in the heart, in the brain and other places,” Mary Lanning Healthcare Medical Director of Primary Care Dr. Zach Frey said. “There are some significantly severe long-term effects in some patients.”

Others can recover and never be bothered again. Then there’s some who have just minor symptoms continue, like shortness of breath or fatigue.

“Most of the time it gets completely better, but in some patients it only gets partially better or never really dissolve,” Dr. Frey said. “We can see this for a couple of weeks or sometimes months or in some patients now, they’re still having issues with the acute illness months down the road.”

Others could be more severe, such as blood clots or serious damage to the heart, lungs or brain.

“People who are sicker are going to have problem, but that doesn’t mean if you had a mild case you won’t have lasting impacts,” Central District Health Department Director Teresa Anderson said. “We don’t know enough about this virus and its effect on our bodies because we’ve only had it around for about a year.”

Dr. Frey said each person has a different experience based on how their body reacts to the virus.

“COVID-19 causes inflammation in blood vessels and those blood vessels can be inflamed throughout the entire body, whether it’s the brain, the kidneys, the heart so once the acute virus is gone, there can still be inflammation in other parts of the body,” Dr. Frey said.

With COVID-19 being around for such a short period of time there is still so much to learn about the virus, its symptoms and the effects of it.

“We don’t know enough about this virus and we don’t know how it has long-term impact on the brain tissue, on the heart tissue and the lung tissue especially,” Anderson said. “So those areas need to be further explored and the research is on-going. At this point I don’t think there’s anything that’s off the table as far as on-going symptoms of COVID.”

The longer experts continue to research the virus and learn about the effects, the more we’ll know. For now they say it’s all just about trying to prevent getting it or spreading it around the community.

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