Coronavirus affects the nervous system liver and heart

Coronavirus affects the nervous system, liver, and heart. As much as we would like to believe the opposite, but the coronavirus continues to march across the planet. Even those who have already had it, cannot breathe a sigh of relief: in addition to the lungs, the infection also affects other organs and systems of the body. And in order to restore health, former hospital patients need competent rehabilitation. In this article, we are going to discuss how Coronavirus affects the nervous system liver and heart.

Which procedures for recovery are prescribed most often, why speleotherapy is popular, and how not to get into the second wave of the spread of coronavirus. So, let’s see how Coronavirus affects the nervous system liver and heart.

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coronavirus affects the nervous system

What are the consequences of the postponed coronavirus? Which organs and systems are affected? 

– Observations of patients with COVID infection indicate that, in addition to the damage to the respiratory tract, lungs, other organs, and systems are also affected.

  • Many patients complain of severe weakness, impaired muscle tone. On the one hand, this can be explained by the prolonged forced position of the patient’s body (especially when on artificial lung ventilation (ALV) in the intensive care and intensive care units). On the other hand, after recovery, in the presence of such complaints and conducting electroneuromyography, we see that patients also have peripheral nerve damage.
  • Most patients who are being treated for COVID infection develop certain psychological problems (depression, anxiety). Such people really need the help of a psychotherapist. And this is not just a purely psychological problem. Coronavirus can affect the central nervous system and a kind of covid encephalopathy develops. There have been cases of covid brain lesions, covid meningitis, and encephalitis. 
  • COVID infection can affect the cardiovascular system. Cases of covid myocarditis, lesions of the cardiac conduction system have been proven. These patients are very difficult to treat. Indeed, in a closed covid compartment, all attention is paid to combating respiratory failure, relieving temperature symptoms. And very often problems with the cardiovascular system fade into the background. They are detected, as a rule, after the patient is discharged when signs of heart failure, shortness of breath, rhythm disturbances appear.  
  • Almost all patients have liver damage – changes in its function and a pronounced increase in liver enzymes. On the one hand, this may be due to the massive doses of drugs that patients receive. On the other hand, there is evidence that the virus affects the gastrointestinal tract. Intestinal lesions with COVID infection are known, and various intestinal symptoms are one of the manifestations of the disease.

Thus, unfortunately, the coronavirus can infect almost any organ and system in the body. Therefore, it is quite difficult to deal with the virus itself and with its consequences.

Does everyone who has suffered a coronavirus need rehabilitation?

How is the recovery of critically ill patients differ from those who suffered from COVID-19 without symptoms?

– Most often, if this is a truly asymptomatic course of the disease, the carriage of the virus, deep damage to organs and systems does not occur. But even with a mild course of COVID infection, almost everyone needs psychological rehabilitation. We see from the patients: a positive PCR test was detected in a person – and that’s it, the patient panics. After all, at least he has certain social restrictions: he cannot communicate with family and friends, he is locked in four walls, his usual way of life changes. 

Serious rehabilitation is required for patients who have moderate and severe diseases – that is, with pneumonia of varying severity.

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Rehabilitation is carried out not only after the illness. It begins already in the early stages of the course of the disease when the person is still in the hospital. From the first day, exercise therapy instructors, rehabilitation doctors come to patients. The nutrition of patients with COVID infection and pneumonia should be complete, balanced so that the body can recover faster. Even how the patient lies is important. Patients with COVID infection and pneumonia are advised to lie on their stomach: this improves ventilation of the basal parts of the lungs. All these moments can also be called rehabilitation. 

After the patient stops shedding the virus, he is transferred to the somatic department, where more active rehabilitation methods can already be used.

What procedures and actions should be included in rehabilitation? And how is the set of these activities determined?

– Rehabilitation consists of five stages: treatment and rehabilitation, early inpatient medical rehabilitation, outpatient, home, and late repeated (inpatient) medical rehabilitation. The type and volume of rehabilitation measures depend on the condition and contraindications of a particular person. The rehabilitation doctor draws up an individual program of medical rehabilitation, and after 3-4 days, he re-examines the patient, after which the program can be adjusted depending on the tolerance of the procedures and the patient’s wishes.

Rehabilitation is very different in duration: it all depends on the severity of the disease and the degree of damage to organs and systems. Usually, it is 2-3 weeks, but sometimes it can stretch for months.

During rehabilitation, the patient restores adaptation to physical activity, learns breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and then he will need to do all this at home on his own.

See also, Five tips for avoid heart disease

And yet: what methods of rehabilitation do doctors prescribe most often?

– Of course, there are methods that are prescribed, if not to all patients, then to very many.

Speleotherapy 

This is a very pleasant procedure. The caving room has muted light, light music, comfortable sun loungers. The patient lies and breathes air with an aerosol suspension of salt and an increased content of negative air ions. The created microclimate reduces the degree of airway allergy and bronchial reactivity. Against this background, the function of the bronchial mucosa improves, the outflow of secretions and the patency of the airways, and the spasm decreases. That is why caving caves are so popular among patients with bronchial asthma.

Breathing exercises 

On the one hand, it focuses on deep breathing to improve airway patency, and on the other hand, it is important to strengthen the respiratory muscles so that the patient can breathe deeper and be able to increase his activity.

Physical exercise

The rate of increasing loads is determined by the rehabilitation doctor individually for each patient. Indeed, it is sometimes difficult for patients with COVID infection to even lead their usual way of life within the apartment – this is how weakness is expressed after the disease. The simplest advice here is this: you need to practice in a way that is comfortable. If movements cause you shortness of breath, dizziness, rapid fatigue, do not try to overpower yourself – slow down. The weather conditions should also be comfortable; it is not recommended to walk in windy and very cold weather. Otherwise, bronchospasm and impairment of lung ventilation may occur. But gradually, once every few days, the pace still needs to be increased so that walks have a training effect.

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A pressure chamber, general magnetotherapy, and supravenous laser blood irradiation are also used. These are all those techniques that not only strengthen the general condition of the body but also improve the rheological properties of blood (for example, its viscosity). This is very important because one of the consequences of COVID infection is a tendency to increase blood clots.

A banal but effective thing is inhalation therapy; various methods of vibration therapy are also used. In any case, the rehabilitation program depends on each individual patient. 

There is an order from the Ministry of Health on Rehabilitation, which details recommendations for those patients who are faced with COVID-19. It is equally communicated to all doctors in our republic, and specialists are actively working on it with covid patients.

Do I need to take vitamins and/or immunomodulatory drugs? 

– Immunomodulators should not be taken, since the effect of the coronavirus has not yet been fully understood. We don’t even know which parts of the immune system it affects. This question is now just the point of application of major research in the world. In addition, immunomodulators are a rather controversial topic in medicine, under their guise many dietary supplements and dubious drugs are sold that are not included in any international protocol. 

Vitamins can be prescribed in accordance with the individual lack of something specific or in the format of general vitamin-mineral complexes. If the patient has been in self-isolation for a long time, it is most likely that he will have a vitamin D deficiency.

But a much more important role is played by a high-quality balanced diet: vitamins from food are absorbed much better.

Is psychological rehabilitation necessary?

– If the patient has such a need, then psychotherapy sessions are organized for him, anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants are prescribed. These activities significantly improve the condition of patients. 

A positive attitude is very important. When a person is depressed, anxious, he is constantly looking for illness in himself, excessively listening to himself. In such patients, any disease progresses worse, they get sick longer and recover more slowly. If the patient himself is determined to recover, then the process goes much better.

Rehabilitation is able to solve all problems, or are there consequences of COVID-19 that can remain with a person for life?

– We assume that, unfortunately, some changes will be irreversible. Most likely, this will concern severe pulmonary fibrosis in those patients who have suffered a severe and extremely severe course of COVID infection. Such patients will need to be monitored for a long time by doctors. But so far there is no reliable data on this issue around the world. 

How do you know that the recovery is going according to plan?

– Improvement of well-being is assessed both subjectively by the patient himself and objectively by the doctor. There is a special scale for assessing the condition of patients, which makes it clear what effect the rehabilitation has given. Various methods of examining the respiratory system, such as spirography, complete the picture. 

Now there is a lot of talk about the second wave of coronavirus. Has the virus gotten weaker?

– We really hoped that the virus would weaken, but did not see it in practice. All the same, there is also pneumonia with large lung damage, and rather severe courses, and, unfortunately, cases of repeated COVID infection. For example, the first time a person suffers the disease very easily, almost asymptomatic, and the second time he develops full-fledged bilateral polysegmental pneumonia.

Therefore, now, in the midst of a pandemic, it is imperative to wear a mask – regardless of whether you have been ill or not. This is what can really protect you. Put on and wear it correctly, wash your hands more often, and at the first signs of illness – temperature, loss of smell – stay at home, do not spread the virus among others.

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Dinesh Gamage

Scientist | Designer | Developer | Blogger

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