Therapeutic intervention the key to mitigating adverse impact of covid-19 pandemic – ET HealthWorld

By Dr. Prathap Kumar N

As part of the guidelines issued for detailing the illness trajectories of covid-19 survivors, the National Health Commission (NHC) of China has stated that recovered patients could suffer from adverse health effects. China’s apex healthcare body has stated that long-term damage to internal organs could be the conclusive after-effect of the novel coronavirus.

Patients who have recovered from the pandemic are likely to be increasingly susceptible to heart and lungs damage, physical immobility arising from loss of muscle movement and psychological maladies in the post covid-19 phase.

A study published in mid-May in the Journal of Emergency Medicine led to findings that covid-19 can lead to long-term heart ailments. Even covid-19 patients with no prior history of cardiac problems have been known to have contracted heart problems like arrhythmia, strokes, heart attacks and inflammation of heart muscles. It has also been largely estimated that experimental drugs like Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Remdesivir used in the treatment of covid-19 may complicate already existing heart issues or worsen heart conditions in some cases.

It has come to the notice of the medical fraternity that patients infected with severe covid-19 are at a greater risk of contracting kidney diseases. There have been instances of non-elderly patients suffering from the novel coronavirus contracting acute kidney injury (AKI). Also known as acute renal failure (ARF), it is a clinical outcome that can result in a sudden or abrupt stoppage of kidney functioning.

A majority of the adults who have developed AKI as an after-effect of covid-19 may not have a history of medical illnesses. Covid-19 patients who report abnormally high levels of blood or protein in their urine are increasingly susceptible to contracting end-stage kidney disease as compared to people with no coronavirus symptoms. Also, patients with low immunity levels on account of comorbidities like diabetes and high blood pressure are at a higher risk of getting infected by covid-19.

A prolonged sedentary lifestyle can lead to adverse impacts on the physiological health of general populations in the long term. For covid-19 patients who are required to undergo longer spells of hospitalization and home confinement, the risks arising from physical inactivity are higher and can give rise to chronic health conditions.

Patients suffering from covid-19 are most likely to suffer from muscular atrophy (wasting of muscles) which can also cause physical disability and overall degradation of health. It needs to be noted here that patients with neuromuscular disorders like muscular dystrophy are at a greater risk of contracting covid-19.

Apart from physiological stresses, survivors of covid-19 are also likely to suffer from psychological maladies. Negative self-projection, adjustment problems, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and suicidal tendencies are likely to manifest among patients who have recovered from the pandemic.

The overwhelming emphasis should be on rebuilding the strength and resilience of covid-19 survivors through regular community interactions. In the post-hospitalization phase, patients who have recovered should follow a regular exercise routine under medical supervision to ensure that they remain physically mobile and active. They should not be subject to any bias and should be treated like normal people. Therapeutic intervention in the form of regular physiotherapy sessions for regaining muscle movement and regular counseling for rebuilding psychological confidence can be the key to mitigating the long-term adversities of covid-19.

(The author is CMD and the Chief Interventional Cardiologist at Meditrina Group of Hospitals)

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it. shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.

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