More than a respiratory infection, Covid-19 wreaks havoc on many organs; inflammation and abnormal blood clotting are likely culprits
As the number of Covid-19 patients grows, doctors are learning its damage can extend well beyond the lungs, where infection can lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, the sometimes fatal condition Mr. Russell had. The disease can also affect the brain, kidneys, heart, vascular and digestive system. Some patients have sudden strokes, pulmonary embolisms or heart-attack symptoms. Others have kidney failure or inflammation of the gut.
Infection can affect the nervous system, causing seizures, hallucinations or a loss of smell and taste. It may affect pregnancies, though the science is nascent: The placenta of a patient who miscarried during her second trimester tested positive for the virus and showed signs of inflammation, according to a paper published April 30 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
... The virus’s strange effects go beyond anything doctors say they usually see with other viral infections. “It seems to strike so many systems,” said Maya Rao, a nephrologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York who is treating Covid-19 patients with acute kidney failure. “We don’t understand who gets it.”
... Physicians describe stunningly extensive and swift clotting leading to the strokes and pulmonary embolisms seen in even otherwise young, healthy patients.
...A recent study in the journal The Lancet found evidence the virus attacks endothelial cells, which form a layer lining blood vessels and the heart. That makes Covid-19 a vascular disease as well as a lung disease, said Mandeep Mehra, executive director of the Center for Advanced Heart Disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, an author of the study.
...A study published Wednesday by Mount Sinai researchers in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that treating hospitalized patients with blood-thinning drugs improved their chances of survival.
I am over my infection, which had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in both onset and duration and associated symptoms (abdominal pain and diarrhea, small airway impairment, headaches, extreme weakness, odd memory recall lapses).
I seem to be back at full strength, but who knows what might have been damaged. For now, I am taking some baby aspirin daily as a precaution in case there could be latent blood clots that developed. I have no idea if that is warranted, but neither does any doctor.