Breathing becomes challenging when someone has asthma, a chronic respiratory disorder that causes inflammation and airway narrowing. The SARS-CoV-2 new coronavirus, which mostly affects the respiratory system, is the cause of COVID-19, a respiratory ailment. The continued research and discussion about the possibility that COVID-19 can trigger asthma will help us get prepared on what to do next.
Although COVID-19 mostly affects the lungs, it is not known yet if it can cause asthma to develop. However, some patients who have recovered from COVID-19 report continuing respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath, which are also typical of asthmatics. As a result, several researchers have made the hypothesis that COVID-19 might raise the likelihood of getting asthma or exacerbate existing symptoms of asthma.
Further research is needed to understand the potential long-term effects of COVID-19 on the respiratory system and whether it can lead to the development of asthma. In the meantime, people who have recovered from COVID-19 and are experiencing ongoing respiratory symptoms should seek medical attention to properly diagnose and treat their condition.
Asthma and COVID-19
Individuals who have asthma understand the predicament of someone having difficulty in breathing. While our life depends mainly on breathing, it may sound painful if the illness is all about difficulty in breathing.
With repeated episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing, often at night or in the early morning, asthma is a chronic medical illness that affects the respiratory passageways in the lungs.
Inflammation in the airways worsens during an asthma episode, restricting breathing normally and making it difficult to breathe in and out. An asthma episode can range in severity from mild to moderate or even life-threatening.
Though there are similarities with asthma, COVID-19 is an entirely different illness. COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, is an extremely contagious respiratory disease. When an infected individual talks, coughs or sneezes, COVID-19 mainly spreads through respiratory droplets. It can also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces.
Asthma is not a contagious disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Asthma symptoms are just some of the symptoms manifested in a COVID-infected person, which is difficulty in breathing.
The WHO further defines asthma as inflammation and restriction of the tiny airways in the lungs. It is the most prevalent chronic illness in children and is a serious non-communicable disease (NCD) that affects both children and adults. Asthma symptoms include any combination of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.
The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be minimal to severe, with the most prevalent signs and symptoms being fever, cough, exhaustion, loss of taste or smell and breathing difficulties. What sets apart COVID-19 from asthma is that millions of people have died from COVID-19 in a span of the recent pandemic, which has also made a substantial impact on public health.
Does COVID have respiratory long-term effects?
While many patients are able to recover from the virus with no long-term consequences, some people may develop such problems, especially those that affect their lung function. Studies have shown that even people with mild or severe COVID-19 can continue to have pulmonary dysfunction, which includes breathing problems, shortness of breath and a weakened lungs.
There are numerous causes for these problems. Some patients’ sensitive lung tissues may have been harmed by the virus, resulting in scarring or inflammation. Others may have experienced pneumonia and blood clots that result in long-term lung damage.
What COVID can do to lungs has serious implications. Yes, in the worst way, COVID can have a lasting effect on the lungs. It can result in certain complications like bronchitis, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis. While these complications may warrant hospitalization and death, we should all be more vigilant and in the know how the virus and its variants behave ang evolve. We are not guaranteed that COVID is completely gone but continuously destroying health and life.
Getting asthma after COVID-19
Can you get asthma after contracting COVID-19? The answer is relative.
Adults with asthma are more likely to experience respiratory symptoms after COVID-19. Compared to people without a history of asthma, patients with asthma had a greater risk of coughing, bronchospasm, shortness of breath and wheezing after an acute COVID-19 infection.
Most recent study indicates that having asthma does not necessarily result in having COVID-19 symptoms that are worse than those of a person without asthma. But even when the body gets rid of the infection, breathing problems could arise since the virus affects the lungs.
Exercise, cold air or allergens like pollen can all cause asthma to flare up, damaging the lungs’ airways. These airways can occasionally swell or restrict, which makes breathing challenging.
Short and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the lungs
The respiratory nature of COVID-19 means that it can have long-lasting effects on the lungs. There is still much to learn about the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the lungs, including how severe and how long the damage will last.
Short-term impacts of COVID-19 on the lungs:
- Pneumonia: Viral pneumonia, or infection of the lungs, can be brought on by COVID-19. This may result in fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
- ARDS: Some COVID-19 patients have ARDS, a serious lung disease that can result in low oxygen levels and respiratory failure. Mechanical ventilation is necessary for ARDS since it can be fatal.
- Lack of oxygen: COVID-19 can lower blood oxygen levels, which can result in shortness of breath, weariness and confusion. As a result, you have hypoxemia.
- Blood clots: COVID-19 can result in blood clots, which may seriously harm or fatal.
Effects of COVID-19 over time on the lungs:
- Pulmonary fibrosis: Some COVID-19 patients may experience lung scarring known as pulmonary fibrosis. This may impair lung function and make breathing difficult.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): COVID-19 may raise your risk of getting COPD, a chronic lung condition that makes breathing difficult.
- Reduced lung function: COVID-19 can harm the lungs over time, lowering lung capacity and making breathing more challenging.
- Increased vulnerability to lung infections: COVID-19 can impair immunity and raise the chance of contracting lung infections like pneumonia.
- Exacerbation of pre-existing lung disorders: COVID-19 can worsen pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma or emphysema.
Factors that impact the severity of damage to the lungs
‘Chronic respiratory diseases’, or CRDs, are a group of illnesses that harm the lungs’ airways and structural integrity. Among the most prevalent examples of CRDs are occupational lung illnesses, pulmonary hypertension, asthma and COPD.
Occupational lung illnesses are lung conditions brought on by workplaces. Occupational lung disease is caused by a sustained exposure to certain lung irritants, and it can persist even after the exposure has ended.
Risk factors that seriously harm lungs include:
- Air pollution
- Exposure to chemicals and dusts, notably cigarette smoke
- Recurrent lower respiratory illnesses throughout childhood
Although CRDs cannot be cured, there are treatments that can assist expand the airways and reduce shortness of breath, which can help control symptoms and enhance everyday life for persons with these disorders.
Is COVID-19-Rrelated lung damage reversible?
Depending on the severity of the infection and the extent of the damage, the degree of reversibility of COVID-19-related lung damage varies. With the right medical attention and supporting measures like rest, hydration and breathing exercises, the damage may be reversed in moderate situations where the infection does not significantly harm the lungs.
However, in more severe instances, this could not be possible, especially if the damage is widespread like ARDS. In certain circumstances, the injury may lead to pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung scarring condition that can compromise lung function and breathing capacity.
Nevertheless, the human body is remarkably capable of regeneration, and with the right medical attention, many people with lung damage from COVID-19 can gradually regain lung function. Exercise, breathing exercises and other therapy involving pulmonary rehabilitation can also assist in improving lung function and lessen symptoms.
Main factors in COVID lung damage
The degree of healing may vary depending on a number of variables, including the infection’s severity, any underlying medical issues, the patient’s age, and lifestyle. Some people might need extra medical treatments including oxygen therapy, physical therapy or medications to assist manage their symptoms.
The kind of care a patient gets is essential in preventing the long-term effect of COVID and protecting lung’s health. But due to ageing, some people may never get the chance to recover fully, especially if the elderly have other underlying diseases, such as COPD or heart disease.
Studies have revealed that the lungs have a remarkable capacity to regenerate and repair themselves about the repairability of the lungs following severe COVID-19.
In conclusion, data suggests that some people may acquire asthma after recovering from the virus, even though there is still much research to be done on the long-term effects of COVID-19.
It is helpful for us to understand that not everyone who contracts COVID-19 will develop asthma, and those who do could have a variety of symptoms and severity. Thus, keeping updated on your health issue and what experts have to say and can do will lead us to a healthy Post-COVID life.