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The many ways Covid-19 is surprisingly attacking your body

By PAOLA NAVARETTE

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Doctors are discovering new ways the disease attacks the body. While it was first thought of as a respiratory illness with flu-like symptoms, they are beginning to see different ways the illness can present in a sick patient. Here are the most recent updates from all over the world.

Neurological malfunction

Physicians have observed neurological symptoms, including confusion, stroke, and seizures, in a small subset of Covid-19 patients. These manifestations join other unusual symptoms like dizziness and a diminished sense of smell and taste. Neurologists in Wuhan, China were among the first to report the symptoms in a preliminary paper published online in February. Since that report, specialists observed similar symptoms in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and the US, including among patients under 60.

Some doctors have reported cases of patients who were brought in for treatment because of their altered mental state, and who ultimately tested positive for the disease, although they had none of the classic symptoms like fever or cough. They diagnose this condition as encephalopathy, a medical name for brain disease or malfunction.

The patients with encephalopathy may appear dazed, exhibiting strange behavior, or staring off into space. They may also have seizures that will require immediate medical care so experts are warning healthcare providers who treat such patients to recognize that they may have Covid-19 in order to protect themselves. Although much is still unknown about the neurological symptoms, efforts are underway to study the phenomena.

Kidney failure and heart damage

The disease is also shutting down some patients’ kidneys, doctors find. It is not yet known whether the kidneys are a major target of the virus, or whether they’re just one more organ falling victim as a patient’s ravaged body surrenders.Early data also indicates that 14 to 30 percent of ICU patients in New York and Wuhan lose kidney function and require either dialysis or continuous renal replacement therapy.

Doctors in the said cities also report Covid-19 patients having heart inflammation and irregular rhythms that can lead to cardiac arrest. The prevalence of these health issues, experts said, is too great to attribute them solely to cytokine storm, a powerful immune response that attacks the body, causing severe damage.

Multi-system inflammation in children

Coronavirus disease has largely spared children—most confirmed to be infected have had only mild symptoms. But doctors in Europe and the US have recently reported that a number of children are becoming ill with a condition that can involve inflammation in the eyes, skin, heart, and blood vessels. The condition, which experts are calling “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome,” is so new that there are still many unanswered questions about how and why it affects children.

Symptoms can include rash, fever, reddish eyes, swollen lymph nodes, and sharp abdominal pain. They do not usually include two common hallmarks of the disease: cough and shortness of breath. Pediatric experts are now closely monitoring new data, urging clinicians to be on the lookout for signs of the syndrome, which can be difficult to diagnose.

Toe lesions

There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that are normally associated with exposure to cold air. Most cases have been reported in children, teens, and young adults in Spain, Belgium, Italy, and the US.

The condition, so-called Covid toe, appears most frequently on the patient’s toes, often affecting several toes on one or both feet. The lesions can be extremely painful, causing a burning or itching sensation. At first, the toes look swollen and take on a reddish tint. Over time, individual bumps can be seen and the lesions become purple in color.

Scientists are just beginning to study the phenomenon, but some dermatologists say the lesions should prompt testing for the virus, even though many patients have no other symptoms.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/05/26/the-many-ways-covid-19-is-surprisingly-attacking-your-body/)

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