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How COVID-19 Can damage Your Lungs In Short And Long Term

Apr 30, 2021 | Lung Damage

COVID-19 affects an individual’s respiratory system in a variety of different ways. There is a wide spectrum of severity from this disease and this is dependant upon an individual’s immune system, age, and overall health. The systems they experience can range from mild symptoms such as having a cough, having shortness of breath, and fever, to reaching a critical level where a person suffers respiratory failure, shock, and multi-organ system failure. For patients with existing lung conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or interstitial lung disease, etc, they can suffer worsening symptoms.

Short Term Effects Of Covid-19 On The Lungs

Based on research carried out, the recovery time after COVID-19 is around two weeks for those who contract a mild case and between three to six weeks for more severe infections. Recovery time is also dependant upon an individual’s personal health and if they suffer from any pre-existing medical conditions.

Based on studies carried out, the most common symptoms people suffered with after COVID-19 were dyspnea, fatigue, joint pain, and chest pain, and on rarer occasions fevers and chills.

How The Lung Structure Can Change

Following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, there have been studies carried out to show that this illness changes how the gases exchange within the lungs. Unfortunately, this can result in killing certain cells, leading to the alveolus being flooded.

This more commonly shows under various conditions such as severe bronchopneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or sepsis.
Pneumonia is where the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and fluid builds in them, making it hard for patients to breathe. The common side effects of this are shortness of breath, fevers, and cough. When the inflammation is more severe, it can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is a form of lung failure and requires medical treatment and oxygen therapies, ventilation, or even the use of a lung bypass machine to oxygenate the blood. In some instances, this can result in long-term damage to the lungs such as scarring.

Sepsis is usually the result of an infection from an abnormal information formation. Unfortunately, it can result in multiple organs failing and leading to other organs failing too, in a coordinated manner. Additionally, it can result in ongoing treatment due to the failing organs.

Can COVID-19 Cause Permanent Damage?

Unfortunately, some patients that have had COVID-19 will have permanent damage. There is a likelihood that people who suffer from chronic lung conditions are at a higher risk of these long-term complications or permanent implications. The full understanding around this is still currently unknown but the current data suggest that up to 50% of people who have had COVID-19 may have a degree of lung damage. However, the long-term implications of this are currently unknown.

Can The Damage Be Reversed?

There are current treatments in place that are effective in reducing the amount of damage initially and the severity. This is, however, dependant upon many factors such as the original severity, the clients existing medical health and underlying conditions as well as genetics.

If you need help treating any lung illness, then Pulmonary Medical Consultants are here to help. We have the expertise and experience needed to help our patients with their lung problems. To learn about what we can do to help, call us today at 281-357-1300.


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