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India is witnessing the ferocious second wave of coronavirus as the infection has swept the country. On Friday, India recorded 4,14,188 new coronavirus infection cases, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,14,91,598, while the active cases crossed the 36-lakh mark. There is a crisis of oxygen in the country which has led to the death of hundreds already. And, to add more to the already existing woes, experts on Friday have warned that women with COVID-19 Pneumonia are at higher risk of developing lung complications which can also turn fatal.
In a recent study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, it is being stated that most patients hospitalized for Covid-19 infection return to full health, but one in three may develop lung damage even after a year.
What exactly is COVID-19 pneumonia and how is it different from regular pneumonia? Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs that is caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. In this case, a patient's lungs which are filled with air sacs called alveoli get infected and inflamed. This further leads to the filling of fluid or pus in the lungs which causes breathing problems. However, COVID-19 pneumonia is a bit different. People are most commonly hospitalized for Covid-19 infection when it affects the lungs -- termed Covid-19 pneumonia.
In the recent study, it has been shown that even after a year, a third of patients' measures of lung function were reduced, particularly how efficiently oxygen is transferred in the lungs into the blood. This was more frequently found in women than in men.
In around a quarter of patients, CT scans showed there were still small areas of change in the lungs, and this was more common in patients with more severe lung changes at the time of hospitalization. About 5 per cent of patients still reported breathlessness, found researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK.
"The majority of patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia appeared to fully recover, although for some patients this took many months. Women were more likely to have persistent reductions in lung function tests and further investigation is needed to understand if there is a sex specific difference in how patients recover," said Mark Jones, Associate Professor in Respiratory Medicine at the varsity. "We also don't yet know what happens beyond 12 months and this will need ongoing study," Jones added.
Some people are at higher risk of developing COVID-19 pneumonia than others. Some of the factors which affects the infection risk are:
The older people or ones who are above 65-years-old are at higher risk of developing COVID-19 pneumonia.
Any underlying health complications can trigger your chances of getting infected by the COVID-19 and develop pneumonia. Some of these can be asthma, diabetes, liver diseases, obesity, and kidney illnesses, etc.
One whose immunity is extremely low can get the COVID-19 infection easily and thus the chances of developing Pneumonia increase. One can strengthen their immunity by tweaking lifestyle habits such as diet, exercise routine, etc.
It all starts with the infected droplets containing the COVID-19 virus which enters your body through the respiratory tract. As soon as it enters your body, it gets multiplied - the virus starts spreading. This reaches your lungs and infects the organ. During this time, the chances of developing pneumonia become high and thus can lead to COVID-19 pneumonia.
Now, how does that all happen? The oxygen that you breathe in enters your lungs crossing your bloodstream inside the alveoli the air sacs present inside your lungs. However, infection with SARS-CoV-2 can damage the alveoli and surrounding tissues.
Now, during this time when your immunity beings to fight off the virus, it can lead to inflammation which can further help the fluid and dead cells to build up in your lungs. These factors then obstruct the movement of oxygen in your lungs which is when an individual develops symptoms such as severe coughing and extreme shortness of breath.
Knowing the warning symptoms of COVID pneumonia is the only best way to fight the odds that comes up with the infection. Here are some of the symptoms that you should be aware of:
Now, the most important thing to keep in mind right now when the cases are rising every single day in India is how to keep your lungs safe from the COVID-19 infection.
Apart from all the above-mentioned safety rules, the recent research has also provided evidence that routine respiratory follow-up of patients hospitalized with Covid-19-pneumonia is required. It also highlights the need for exploring treatment strategies, including the role of exercise programs to prevent the development of long-term Covid-19 related lung changes.