COVID-19 & its associated complications

As you know that coronavirus pandemic is still going on and the third wave is not far away. The third wave of COVID-19 infection is inevitable, so it is wise to prepare ourselves for the upcoming wave and strategize on how to deal with it. Keeping a thermometer, an oximeter at home would be a wise choice for keeping a close check on SpO2 concentration. We at Swayam Care can take care of this with our Pulse oximeter which is highly accurate and is made in India. Our Oximeter measures the body temperature, oxygen saturation, and pulse rate of the patient. It can be used on all ages, from infants to adults.

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Nowadays, though cases are falling and most of us have received at least the first dose of vaccine, this shouldn’t stop us from being responsible and following all preventive measures without any relaxation. Vaccination and following all the guidelines provided by the officials is the only way to bring back the normal circumstances. Let’s get into details about the complications.

What are complications?

Before starting with COVID-19 complications specifically, we must know what complications are? According to Merriam-Webster, in medical terms, complications are a secondary condition or disease developed in the course of a primary disease or condition. In conclusion, complications are any unanticipated problem that may arise resulting from a procedure, treatment, or illness. Just like any other disease, COVID-19 also has complications associated with it.

Complications associated with COVID-19:

Illustration of COVID-19 by CDC

It’s been more than a year since the pandemic started and the research on the virus is still going on. Almost 1 in 6 people have faced these complications and some of which are life-threatening. Cytokine storm or cytokine release syndrome leads to most of the complications when infections trigger the immune system. The immune system then floods the blood with inflammatory cell-signaling proteins called cytokines. Cytokines help in fighting foreign pathogens and attack tumors.

Pneumonia:

X-ray showing pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection that causes inflammation in the lung’s air sacs caused by a virus, in this case. In this case, fluid, pus, or mucus fills the air sacs or alveoli. There was a surge in pneumonia cases when coronavirus was first found out in China.

Researchers found that pneumonia was found in very ill COVID-19 patients, as a result of which the flow of oxygen was disrupted.

Acute liver injury:

Researchers showed that COVID-19 has an association with acute liver injury due to increased levels of liver enzymes worldwide. Acute means happening suddenly, thus acute liver injury and liver failure are life-threatening conditions.

Blood clots:

Though blood clots are necessary for the prevention of blood loss in case of injury, sometimes blood clots may form without any injury. In the latter case, it becomes dangerous as there is a possibility of a clot formation in the blood vessel that might obstruct the flow of blood. As a result, this can be the reason behind stroke or pulmonary embolism, or heart attack. The condition when our body’s normal blood clot mechanism works differently than usual is known as disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

These cases mainly affected hospitalized COVID-19 patients. A report showed that 31 percent of people affected with severe COVID-19 and hospitalized patients faced this complication. 

Cardiac complications:

The myocardial complication is a common phenomenon in COVID-19 affected patients. This complication shows that it has an impact on the heart such as arrhythmia. A report demonstrated that cardiac involvement in SARS-CoV-2 is highly prevalent with a broad spectrum of clinical presentation. The elevated myocardial enzyme levels were found in 54% of the patients, cardiac dysfunction in 41%, and acute cardiac injury in 9% of the patients. Other forms of COVID-cardiomyopathy in the affected patients include atypical myocardial infarction, stress cardiomyopathy (Takotsubo syndrome), cardiogenic shock, acute coronary syndromes, sudden cardiac death, etc.

Rhabdomyolysis:

Rhabdomyolysis is an extremely rare complication, it can be a primary extrapulmonary expression of COVID-19. This is a potentially life-threatening syndrome in which breakdown of skeletal muscle fiber occurs, and tissues die. Myoglobin accumulates in the bloodstream with a breakdown of these myocytes. It may be the cause of death if the kidney is unable to filter them. Acute renal failure is a common complication in C0VID-19 patients and rhabdomyolysis is a contributing factor. However, furthermore, research would help in better understanding of pathophysiological system behind COVID-19 and rhabdomyolysis.

Mucormycosis:

Mucormycosis is also known as ‘black fungus’, it is a serious but rare infection, usually, exposure to mucor mold leads to this. Doctors believe that the mortality rate of mucormycosis is almost 50% and this is the use of steroids triggers this. Steroids are a life-saving treatment but misuse of these can cause fungal infection in the wake of a coronavirus pandemic. Patients with diabetes or COVID-19 are at higher risk of contracting fungal infections. India contributed about 45% of the new cases detected globally. In India, Mucormycosis has then declared an epidemic within pandemic.

Avascular necrosis:

According to John Hopkins Medicine, this is a disease that results in temporary or permanent loss of blood supply to the bone. This causes disruption in blood supply and the bone tissue dies causing bone death. This is the latest post-COVID-19 complication after mucormycosis. After mucormycosis, AVN has been the cause of worry for recovered COVID-19 patients. MRI scans are important for detection. Early detection helps in proper treatment.

The second wave of COVID-19 in India was harsh. Not only, the cases spiked but also the complications associated with it increased. Other complications associated with COVID-19 are secondary infection, septic shock, and many others. Always wearing a mask, avoiding travel whenever possible, using sanitizer regularly are some of the measures that we need to take regularly. These tough times demand your vigilance and awareness. 

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