Coronavirus Can Attack and Enlarge This Important Organ, Says New Study

A new case shows that it's not just your lungs that can be affected by COVID-19.

Each day since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new discoveries from scientists that've helped us better understand the novel coronavirus. And while pretty much everyone at this point knows that the lungs and respiratory system are most affected by COVID-19, a recently released study has revealed that another major organ in your body can also be infected by the coronavirus: your thyroid.

According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, an 18-year-old woman from northern Italy who had recently tested positive for COVID-19 developed the first recorded case of a painful thyroid infection known as thyroiditis that was brought on by the coronavirus. Luckily, doctors were able to completely clear the condition in a week through the use of routine steroid treatment. But the surprising twist in the young woman's case has once again proven how tricky it has been for medical experts to understand—and effectively treat—this contagious disease.

Many are citing this as yet another strange curveball—along with symptoms such as "COVID toes" and the loss of taste and smell—that COVID-19 has thrown at scientists and researchers. But now that doctors have been made aware of the potential link between the novel coronavirus and thyroiditis, it'll be easier for physicians to anticipate and treat this complication early.

Woman getting her thyroid checked by a doctor

So how can you tell if your COVID-19 symptoms are progressing towards thyroiditis? "If a patient had the virus and presents with new neck pain they should get that evaluated," David Hiltzik, MD, director of head and neck surgery at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, told WebMD. Other experts recommend that patients who have tested positive for the virus should report any sudden fever, body aches, fatigue, or loss of appetite to their physicians immediately.

Despite this recent complication, doctors aren't overly worried about the impact this can ultimately have on coronavirus patients. "Thankfully, thyroiditis can easily be treated and should not be of great concern," said Hiltzik. And for more ways to keep yourself safe during the pandemic, check out how 80 Percent of Coronavirus Cases Can Be Traced Back to This One Thing.

Zachary Mack
Zachary is a freelance writer covering beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. Read more
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