Many Covid survivors develop diabetes; face heart, lung issues
Hyderabad: The governments, Central as well as in the states, have been for long promoting a narrative that with the case fatality ratio being low, there is generally nothing to fear from Covid-19. Early detection is all that is required, except in some odd cases of patients with serious co-morbidities, to recover has been the cornerstone of this storyline.
The death rates have been pegged at 1.4 per cent all-India.
The narrative appears to have worked, with people no longer really afraid of the disease. One just needs to step out to see mask-less people, with many elected representatives including ministers acting no differently.
According to several doctors who have been treating Covid-19 patients for nearly a year now, it is just a matter of time before this make-believe safety bubble will burst. Other than some cursory comments on post-Covid-19 recovery care, little was done to create awareness on what patients need to look out for, after recovery.
“We are seeing that nearly 80 per cent of those who have recovered from Covid-19 are developing diabetes, and fibrosis in the lungs in about six months,” a senior doctor involved in treating and following-up with recovered patients told Deccan Chronicle.
"Everyone who has recovered from Covid-19 must get themselves tested for diabetes and have a thorough examination of their lungs after six months, which appears to be the threshold for these two diseases to begin manifesting in the survivors," the doctor said.
These are not the only diseases a Covid-19 survivor needs to watch out for.
"Since the disease is one of inflammation, the immediate term impact is being seen on the heart, doctors said. "Blood vessels are inflamed in Covid-19 patients, which means vascular walls become thick and their inner diameter gets restricted. This is the reason why the resting pulse rate in almost every Covid-19 patient goes up post immediate recovery,” a doctor explained.
"What this means is that the heart begins to work harder than before exposure to Covid-19, resulting in increased pulse rate. It has been found that the heartbeat can swing wildly too," the doctor said, recommending that post survivors should ideally begin taking more interest in their cardiac health.
“We have seen vascular constriction more often than not in children who suffered from Covid-19,” a doctor told Deccan Chronicle, adding what this means to the quality of life of the children is something he was worried to even speculate about.
“We are also seeing cases among Covid-19 infected women who are developing complications during pregnancies, as well as pregnant women losing their babies because of the vascular inflammation-related issues,” the doctor said.
"If the governments do not start educating people at least on these aspects, if not the other commonly lingering effects such as fatigue, bouts of breathlessness and sore throat among other Covid-19 symptoms, then we are looking at a health care time bomb that could well explode in the next couple of years when the yet-to-be-clearly-understood near- and mid-term impacts of Covid-19 on general health begin making themselves felt," doctors said.
How many are at risk
1,05,01,194: Total cases all-India (including active cases as on Jan. 24).
84,40,955: Potential risk of developing serious health issues in six months, 80% of all-India total.