Hyderabad: For Covid-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms, the fight against disease doesn’t end with a discharge from the hospital or a negative report of the virus.
In most of these cases, doctors say the fight continues for several weeks as many continue to suffer with chest discomfort, breathlessness and an increased levels of stress hormone, cortisol, post recovery.
“Currently, we are seeing more of post-Covid patients coming with breathing difficulty apart from generalised weakness, headache and sleeplessness. Breathlessness in Covid-19 recovered patients is mainly caused due to post-Covid lung fibrosis, viral triggered allergic bronchitis or anxiety hyperventilation syndrome,” said Dr V V Ramana Prasad, consultant pulmonologist, KIMS Hospital.
“People are experiencing anxiety, stress and fear. There will be no breathing difficulty when they are sleeping, sitting or walking but they will suddenly feel like there is some vacuum in their chest which will make them want to take deep breaths through their mouth to fill that vacuum. If that continues for a long time, they will get tingling and numbness around their cheeks, fingers and lips due to hyperventilation. During that process, there will be loss of carbon dioxide and calcium,” said Dr Prasad.
While 30%-40% of patients come with lung fibrosis, doctors said that about 40%-50% of them have viral triggered allergic bronchitis or bronchospasm which mimics asthma and 10%-20% of patients recovered from Covid-19 will have anxiety hyperventilation syndrome. “We are seeing a significant increase in people suffering from post-Covid symptoms related to stress and anxiety. Some of them are landing in depression and PTSD,” said Dr Y Srinivas, professor and HOD, psychiatry, Kakatiya Medical College.