What Damage Coronavirus (COVID-19) Can Do To Your Lungs?

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Know how coronavirus can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)


As the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, we’re studying more about the disease, what it does to human body and the damage it can cause. But not sure whether you understand yet precisely what the virus can do to you?

While many patients with COVID-19 have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, a subdivision of patients face severe respiratory illness and might require to be admitted for thorough care.


What’s the connection between coronavirus and ARDS?

As Dr. Semitha, one of the renowned lung transplant surgeons in Mumbai explains, that Chinese researchers have connected COVID-19 to ARDS. Their study scrutinized risk factors for 191 confirmed COVID-19 patients who succumbed while being treated in two hospitals in Wuhan, China.

The researchers then found 50 of the 54 patients who succumbed were facing ARDS whereas only 9 of the 137 survivors had ARDS.

How can heart specialists tell if you have ARDS?

If you are experiencing ARDS, you’ll have symptoms like abrupt breathlessness, rapid breathing, giddiness, fast heart rate and extreme sweating.

But the 4 major things doctors will search for are:

  • If you possess an acute condition, symptoms which started in 1 week of what they say a “known clinical insult,” or novel or failing symptoms.
  • If your shortness of breathing is not clarified by heart failure or fluid overload.
  • Your blood having low oxygen levels (severe hypoxia).
  • Both lungs seeming white and opaque (versus black) on chest X-rays (known as bilateral lung opacities on chest imaging).


So how does ARDS really harm your lungs?

Most prominently, patients who are have concerns with ARDS ultimately experience damage to the walls of the air sacs in their lungs — the ones that support oxygen in penetrating into our red blood cells. That’s what doctors’ term ‘diffuse alvelolar damage’.

Within a healthy lung, oxygen in these air sacs (alveolus) travels to small blood vessels (capillaries). These small vessels, in turn, bring the oxygen to your red blood cells. “Nature has developed in a way that the wall of alveolus is very, very thin in a normal individual so oxygen can effortlessly get from the air space in between to the red blood cell,” Dr. Semitha elucidates.

The corona virus damages not only the wall and lining cells of the alveolus but also the capillaries. The debris that collects owing to all of the damage lines the wall of the alveolus, the similar way paint could cover a wall. The damage to capillaries also leads them to drip plasma proteins that contributes to the wall’s thickness. Ultimately, the wall of the alveolus turns thicker than it ought to be. The thicker this wall turns, the harder it is for the transference of oxygen, the more you feel shortness of breath, and then more and more your body initiate moving towards severe illness and that would conclude in death.


Why is understanding the impact of COVID-19 on your lungs vital?

The whole point, Dr. Semitha, Mumbai’s top cardiologist stresses, is to highlight what the coronavirus is able of doing to a body, mainly high-risk patients who might be more susceptible to infection. He hopes this will get public to take the present outbreak seriously.

Please don’t ignore this as ‘just another viral infection which will go away. Take all the precautions that the government is outlining. You need to protect yourself, your family, and others who matter to you.

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