COVID-19 can cause permanent lung damage

Lung disease can manifest itself in several ways. Covid disease can cause permanent lung damage.

Virginia, United States:

“I just can’t do what I was doing anymore.”

as such lung disease andCritical care doctors When treating patients with lung conditions, we’ve heard that many of our patients recover from COVID-19 telling us so even months after the initial diagnosis. Although they may have survived the most life-threatening stages of their illness, they have not yet returned to their pre-COVID-19 baseline, experiencing activities ranging from strenuous exercise to doing laundry.

This lingering effects, called COVID longhave affected up to 1 in 5 American adults has COVID-19. Long COVID includes a Wide range of symptoms Such as brain fog, fatigue, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms can result from damage or malfunction of the Multiple member systemsand understanding the long-term causes of COVID is a special research focus of Biden Harris administration.

Not all breathing problems are related to the lungs, but in many cases The lungs are affected. Looking at the basic functions of the lungs and how they may be affected by disease may help clarify what looms for some patients after contracting COVID-19 infection.

Lung function is normal

The The main function of the lungs It is the introduction of oxygen-rich air into the body and the expulsion of carbon dioxide. When air flows into the lungs, it approaches the blood, where oxygen diffuses into the body and carbon dioxide diffuses.

The lungs bring oxygen and carbon dioxide to the body.

This process, as simple as it sounds, requires exceptional coordination of airflow, ventilation, blood flow, or perfusion. there More than 20 bands In the airway, starting from the main windpipe, or trachea, down to the tiny balloons at the end of the airway, called alveoli, which are in close contact with blood vessels.

By the time the oxygen molecule reaches the end of the airway, there is about 300 million Of these small alveoli can end up, with a total surface area of Over 1,000 square feet (100 square metres) Where gas exchange occurs.

Matching ventilation and perfusion rates is critical to basic lung function, and damage anywhere along the airway can make breathing difficult in many ways.

Obstruction – reduced air flow

One form of lung disease is obstruction of air flow in and out of the body.

2 common reasons Such disabilities include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. In these diseases, the airways narrow either due to damage from smoking, as is common in COPD, or from allergic inflammation, as is common in asthma. Either way, patients have trouble getting the air out of their lungs.

The researchers note that airflow continues to be obstructed in Some patients who have recovered from COVID-19. This condition is usually treated with inhalers that deliver Medicines that open the airways. These treatments may also be helpful while recovering from COVID-19.

Restriction – reduced lung volume

Another form of lung disease is referred to as restrictionDifficulty expanding the lungs. Restriction reduces the volume of the lungs, and therefore the amount of air they can absorb. The restriction often results from the formation of scar tissue, which is also called fibrosisin the lungs due to injury.

Fibrosis thickens the walls of the alveoli, making gas exchange with the blood more difficult. This type of scarring can occur in chronic lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosisor as a result of severe lung damage in a condition called acute respiratory distress syndromeor ARDS.

ARDS can be caused by injuries that originate in the lungs, such as pneumonia, or severe disease in other organs, such as pancreatitis. Around 25% of patients Those who recover from acute respiratory distress syndrome develop restrictive lung disease.

The researchers also found that patients with recovered from COVID-19especially those who have severe illnessIt can later develop into restrictive lung disease. COVID-19 patients who need a ventilator may have similar recovery rates to those who need a ventilator Other terms. The long-term recovery of lung function in these patients is still unknown. Medicines that treat fibrotic lung disease after COVID-19 are currently underway Clinical trials.

Impaired perfusion – reduced blood flow

Finally, even when airflow and lung volume are not affected, the lungs cannot complete their function if blood flow to the alveoli, where gas exchange occurs, is impaired.

COVID-19 is associated with Increased risk of blood clots. If blood clots travel to the lungs, they can be life-threatening pulmonary embolism It restricts blood flow to the lungs.

In the long term, blood clots can also cause chronic problems with blood flow to the lungs, a condition called . Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, or CTEPH. Just 0.5% to 3% of patients People who develop pulmonary embolism for reasons other than COVID-19 go on to develop this chronic problem. However, there is evidence that severe COVID-19 infection can occur Lung blood vessel damage straight and impairs blood flow during recovery.

What’s Next?

The lungs can function less optimally in these three general ways, and COVID-19 can lead to all of them. Researchers and clinicians are still discovering better ways to treat the long-term lung damage seen in long-term COVID.

For clinicians, close follow-up with patients who have recovered from COVID-19, especially those with persistent symptoms, can lead to a faster diagnosis of long-term COVID. Severe cases of COVID-19 are associated with Higher rates of COVID long. Other risk factors For prolonged COVID development, it includes pre-existing type 2 diabetes, the presence of virus particles in the blood after initial infection and certain types of abnormal immune function.

For researchers, a long COVID is an opportunity to study Basic Mechanisms About how the different types of lung-related conditions caused by COVID-19 infection develop. Uncovering these mechanisms will allow researchers to develop targeted therapies to speed recovery and make more patients feel and breathe like their pre-pandemic selves again.

In the meantime, everyone can Stay up to date on recommended vaccinations and use Preventative measurements Like good hand hygiene and masking them when appropriate.Conversation

(Authors:Jeffrey M. StorrickAssistant Professor of Medicine University of Virginia And the Alexandra CadelAssociate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Virginia)

(Information Disclosure Statement: Jeffrey M. Sturek has received funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Alexandra Cadel does not work for, consult with, own shares in, or receive funding from any company, corporation, or organization that benefits from, or receives funding from, this article, and she has not disclosed any relevant affiliations following her academic appointment.)

This article has been republished from Conversation Under a Creative Commons License. Read the original article.

(This story has not been edited by the NDTV crew and is automatically generated from a shared feed.)