COVID-19 has been a challenge for humanity with a large number of infections and deaths. Currently, medical experts are still constantly studying the consequences that the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes to patients. Let’s find out how COVID-19 affects the human body, especially the Lungs through the article below.
The COVID-19 epidemic occurred in China from December 2019. Over the past year, the epidemic has spread to most countries and territories with over 276 million infections, nearly 5.37 million deaths.
The COVID-19 pandemic is humanity’s biggest disaster since World War II. It has serious consequences for health and economy around the world.
Although the gene sequence is 80% similar to SARS, recent updates show that the danger of SARS-CoV-2 is much greater than that of known virus strains.
Because of the prominent Lung and respiratory symptoms, people think that COVID is a disease that affects only the Lungs and respiratory tract, but in fact COVID affects many other organs in the body, especially is the advanced stage of the disease.
1. The Link Between COVID-19 and Pneumonia
COVID-19 is a serious respiratory illness caused by SARS-CoV-2. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 can lead to a range of symptoms, including cough, fever, difficulty breathing and loss of taste or smell. Pneumonia is an infection. Infections of small air sacs in the Lungs (called alveoli), which can range from mild to severe, develop in patients with COVID-19, also known as COVID-19 pneumonia.
Dr. Raymond Casciari, pulmonologist at St. Joseph of Orange, California, says pneumonia can develop from any virus. During COVID-19 disease, the virus can damage the alveoli and cause fluid to build up in the Lungs. That can also lead to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe form of respiratory failure.
2. Symptoms of the Onset of Infection with the SARS-CoV-2 Virus
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) has issued a warning that one or all of the symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection can appear anytime within 2-14 days, after the body was exposed to the new strain of Corona virus.
Specifically, the typical and earliest onset symptoms to detect the disease are:
- Fever: this is the first sign of COVID-19 recognition. Fever when the temperature exceeds 38 degrees Celsius in most children and adults.
Experts also recommend that patients should not rely on the temperature taken in the morning because viral fever will cause the body temperature to rise in the late afternoon and early evening.
- Dry cough: COVID-19 has an early and most common symptom, a cough. Regular cough medicine cannot be used to completely treat cough caused by COVID-19. About 40% of nearly 6,000 people with the disease experience periods of fatigue according to WHO research.
This symptom persists even after Covid is over for a week.
3. How Does COVID-19 Affect the Lungs?
As with diseases caused by other coronaviruses, including SARS, MERS and colds, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with the Lungs often being first affected.
The Lungs are the most favorite environment for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Professor Matthew B. Frieman, a virologist from the University of Maryland (USA), said that nCoV also attacks the Lungs through 3 stages like SARS.
Symptoms of pneumonia usually start from the 2nd week of the patient. The viruses will now attack Lung cells, especially the Cilia cell layer. Meanwhile, this layer of cells gathers around and is responsible for protecting mucosal cells. The mucosa (mucous membrane) plays an important role in protecting Lung tissue against the impact of foreign objects such as dust, pollen, viruses…then peels off this protective layer.
When the protective layer is lost, the respiratory tract will be flooded with dirt, fluids and viruses. This attack method causes many COVID-19 patients to have inflammation of both Lungs. Thus, when the SARS-CoV-2 virus attacks the Cilia cell layer, it will reduce the function of the mucosa. Therefore, Lung tissue cannot be protected and will be damaged by the virus. At this time, the Lungs will be inflamed, the activity of supplying oxygen to the blood is delayed.
Common initial symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of smell… Respiratory symptoms, including cough, are quite common, occurring with a rate of 68 to 83%, only 11 to 20% have difficulty breathing. Some people may have only mild respiratory symptoms, but there is a small group of people with severe Lung damage, which can lead to acute respiratory failure or ARDS syndrome.
A variety of pathogenesis develops during COVID-19, including infection, increased inflammation and sepsis. The SARS-CoV-2 virus damages the Lungs, leading to fluid leaking from the small blood vessels in the Lungs. Fluid builds up in the air sacs of the Lungs or alveoli, making it difficult for the Lungs to move oxygen from the air into the bloodstream.
Statistics of 113 COVID-19 deaths at Tongji Hospital, China show that 100% of patients died from complications of acute respiratory failure and infection.
Without timely medical intervention, people with severe COVID-19 will die. If you are lucky not to die, your Lungs will also be seriously damaged. For the elderly, people with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, gout, kidney failure, etc., and people with weak resistance, they may need the help of a ventilator to breathe. Therefore, monitoring blood oxygen saturation SpO2 or SaO2 plays a very important role, in order to intervene to supplement oxygen in time for the body right in the early stages of disease progression.
4. Developmental Stages of COVID-19
The Lungs are the most favorite habitat and development environment for the virus that causes the COVID-19 epidemic. Professor Matthew B. Frieman – a virologist from the University of Maryland (USA) said that the virus that causes COVID-19 attacks the Lungs in a 3-stage sequence like SARS:
- Stage 1: When infected in the early days, the virus will break through the protective barrier of the respiratory system, invade the Lungs and form a viral reservoir.
There are many patients with COVID-19 experiencing inflammation of both Lungs and accompanied by symptoms of shortness of breath.
- Stage 2: The human body is faced with a massive invasion of viruses and will protect itself by strengthening immune cells to the lungs. Inflammation confined to the infected area can be controlled if immune cells function effectively, bringing many benefits to the patient.
But if the patient’s immune system is too strong, the immune cells will attack the healthy cells and make the disease worse (the British pilot infected with COVID-19 being treated in Vietnam is a typical example of this case).
- Stage 3: The patient develops acute respiratory failure and dies due to continued widespread lung damage. The patient, if saved, will still suffer severe Lung damage and may not be able to recover like the original.
When a patient’s Lungs are severely damaged by viral attacks, fluid accumulates in the air sacs, preventing oxygen from reaching the blood and other parts of the body, leading to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), if not treated promptly will lead to death.
Treatment of shortness of breath and respiratory failure includes supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation, the goal of which is to bring more oxygen into the blood, oxygen to help the body overcome hypoxia, allowing the body to recover and the immune system, it will address the potential damage.
COVID-19 not only affects health but also mental health, specifically COVID-19 causes blood oxygen loss – affects behavior, loss of taste – affects eating, health of infected people; anti-epidemic measures cause anxiety – loneliness – insomnia in people or increase domestic violence.
In addition to affecting the Lungs, COVID-19 also seriously affects other organs in the body such as Kidneys, Liver, Heart and weakens the immune system. This virus is easily spread from person to person through the respiratory system. Therefore, preventive measures such as wearing a mask when going out, keeping a distance of at least 2 meters, regularly washing hands with soap … are extremely necessary.
In the context of the complicated development of the epidemic with thousands of infections in the community every day, as soon as there are signs of cough, fever, fatigue … suspected of having SARS-CoV-2 infection, each individual needs to take action. Immediately test PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) to determine whether the virus is infected or not.
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