It has been found out that the new coronavirus can wreak havoc far beyond the lungs. It has been found that the pathogen’s effects do not stop in the lungs, it can cause problems in almost every organ, including the brain, heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and skin.
Physicians have been taken aback at what they now call silent hypoxia, or happy hypoxia, a phenomenon in which people with dangerously low levels of blood oxygen are astonishingly not struggling to breathe. And there is “COVID toe,” painful swellings on the skin called chilblains. In rare cases, children—who were previously thought to be relatively spared from severe illness—come down with symptoms akin to Kawasaki disease, which leads to inflamed blood vessels throughout the body. Complications associated with blood clots, such as strokes and pulmonary embolisms (blockages of blood vessels in the lungs) also turn up. “It’s interesting that a respiratory virus will cause such a diverse array of clinical sequelae,” says Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
Scientists are still trying to pin down the exact mechanism underlying the wide range of complications. There seem to be two key leading suspects, however. The first is the immune system’s defensive inflammatory response to foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. That reaction, in turn, may lead to the second culprit: blood clotting. The disease’s impact on blood vasculature appears to underlie some of the more bewildering effects COVID-19 patients encounter.
Reports of clotting-related complications such as pulmonary embolism and stroke among COVID-19 patients in intensive care units have come from several countries, including China, France, Italy and the U.S. The overall frequency of such issues remains unclear, but some assessments suggest that they appear in as many as 30 percent of critically ill patients. In rare cases, strokes have turned up in people in their 30s and 40s, alarming doctors.
Source – Scientific American Read full article here.