These Are the Coronavirus Symptoms You May Have Forever
Evidence is building that a bout with COVID-19 could have a permanent effect on some patients.
You've likely been reading a lot about death rates amid the coronavirus pandemic. And while the U.S. and world at large has suffered a devastating loss, the truth is that the majority of coronavirus patients recover. (The most recent estimated death rate from the Centers for Disease Control [CDC] is 0.2 percent.) However, doctors and researchers are paying close attention to the long-term effects that COVID-19 may have on patients who overcome the virus. Only observation and research over time will determine the lifelong impact a bout with COVID-19 may have, but there is already evidence that recovered patients may suffer from some coronavirus symptoms forever. Here are the ones that tend to persist. And for more about the way COVID-19 manifests, here are 13 Coronavirus Symptoms That Are More Common Than a Sore Throat.
Shortness of breath
COVID-19 is a respiratory infection; in severe cases, it can do permanent damage to the lungs. Coughing and shortness of breath are commonly reported symptoms, which may persist even after an otherwise full recovery. Other lung issues may arise as well. “Viral respiratory infections can lead to anything from a simple cough that lasts for a few weeks or months to full-blown chronic wheezing or asthma,” pulmonologist Andrew Martin, MD, of the Deborah Heart and Lung Center, told Healthline. Martin also said that those patients who suffer from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are more likely to develop these conditions. And for more ways coronavirus takes over your body, check out Here's How Coronavirus Affects Your Body, From Your Head to Toes.
Frighteningly, COVID-19 may do permanent damage to the brain as well. A study published in JAMA this April found that one-third of coronavirus patients in Wuhan, China, experienced neurological symptoms, such as dizziness, loss of smell and taste, confusion, headache, and even seizures, among others. Elemental by Medium reports that it hasn't yet been determined whether the disease itself is attacking the brain or if these symptoms are the result of oxygen deprivation or the inflammatory immune response, so it can't be predicted whether or not they are temporary.
Igor Koralnik, MD, who is chief of neuro-infectious disease and global neurology at Northwestern University, told the outlet, "It is possible [the changes will be permanent]. Time will tell if this happens or not.”
Respiratory infections in general are proven to increase one's risk of cardiovascular problems. And many coronavirus patients suffer cardiovascular events, such as heart failure and symptoms that resemble heart attack or myocarditis, as Mariell Jessup, MD, chief science and medical officer of the American Heart Association, told Elemental. What's even more concerning is that these symptoms are manifesting in some who are already at high risk for heart disease and also in some who are not. Vox reports that inflammation caused by the coronavirus may be directly impacting the heart, permanently weakening it in some cases. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Risk of blood clots
Blood clotting is a serious concern for coronavirus patients. It can cause strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, and other major health events, all of which have lasting ramifications. These effects include shortness of breath, fatigue, ongoing heart issues, and more. It also seems that clotting may still occur after other symptoms clear. Per The Philadelphia Inquirer, one coronavirus patient who was already considered recovered suffered a stroke after being discharged from the hospital and returning to work. And for more factors to be aware of when it comes to coronavirus, check out 5 Surprising Things That Slash Your Coronavirus Risk.