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Fatigue, cough and muscle weakness, among post-COVID-19 consequences that Ecuadorians deal with

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Jorge Vizcaíno contracted COVID-19 two years ago. He spent a month in the intensive care unit (ICU) and finally woke up. However, after overcoming the coronavirus, he was unable to walk normally or do his usual activities.

The craftsman by profession feels tired when standing for more than ten minutes. This has complicated his work and daily life.

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The doctors diagnosed him with neuropathy in the lower limbs, physical wear and also fatigue. So, he began a recovery at the Calderón Teaching Hospital, since he works near this health home. He has dreamed of going back to the days when he could get by without complications and could take care of his three daughters.

“My wife told me that they told her that there was no chance for her to live, but at that time my body began to react, it started again and did not stop. Now I feel so tired that I can’t do even a basic task,” she said as she left a rehab appointment.

Mauricio Morales, head of the Physiatry Area of ​​the Calderón Teaching Hospital, pointed out that 58% of the population that has had COVID-19, mild, moderate or severe, has presented sequelae of fatigue; that is the main affectation that patients have.

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The other sequelae that follow are cough and muscle weakness. These are the cases that receive the most in the country’s hospitals, according to the Ministry of Public Health (MSP).

However, there are also other symptoms that patients have suffered once they have overcome the coronavirus. Among these, Morales named loss of smell and taste, muscle weakness, vision loss, blurred vision and gastrointestinal symptoms.

QUITO.- Physiatry Area of ​​the General Teaching Hospital of Calderón, in which they provide care to post-COVID patients, in the north of the capital. Photo: Andres Salazar

The hospital, which is located in the north of Quito, has a physical rehabilitation department for patients; and from this Wednesday, September 28, they have a post-COVID rehabilitation room.

The Ministry of Health reported that in fourteen health points nationwide these rooms were enabled to care for post-COVID patients. Through different equipment they monitor patients, which allows real knowledge about the functioning of the heart and lungs, oxygen saturation and how the pulmonary gases are.

Ecuador opens post-COVID recovery rooms in 14 points nationwide

Morales explained that these tests were done invasively, through an arterial blood gas; but the current equipment allows, through three or four breaths, to obtain the results.

“The patient goes through a phase of functional assessment of how the lung mechanics is, which allows knowing the type of training that has to be done for the recovery of the diaphragm, which is the main respiratory muscle,” he added.

Doctors estimate that if the patient does their rehabilitation for two months, every day, when they retake an assessment they will find an improvement of 80%, and that in up to six months they may have a recovery of 100%.

“Physical rehabilitation treatment is decisive in the recovery of a patient. The medication is not going to strengthen the muscles, it is not going to help with that,” argued Morales.

Michelle Grunauer, representative of the Reaching Impact, Saturation and Epidemic Control (RISE) project, of the Jhpiego organization and San Francisco University, indicated that approximately 30 out of every 100 people who had mild COVID-19 developed a post-COVID condition, and that while The sooner you start rehab, the better for your recovery.

This was determined through the study carried out in different provinces of the country, since the beginning of the pandemic. With this, they created a manual on the recovery of patients, which is being applied in the centers belonging to the MSP and is intended to be shared with other institutions dedicated to health.

In this study they have identified the persistence of symptoms when the person already had to be cured of the disease. Grunauer explained that many systems of the human body are involved in this virus, and that not all of them are affected in the same quantity or degree in each person. That is, it does not affect everyone in the same way.

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“The most common is that they maintain fatigue and shortness of breath, but there may also be cardiac compromise; For example, arrhythmias may appear that the patient did not have before and that were generated with COVID. Also, neurological problems. We have people who have lost muscle strength and who have needed to be in a wheelchair for long periods of time after leaving the hospital; this was identified especially in patients infected with the delta variant,” Grunauer said.

He also indicated that, by attacking all systems, it can even affect mental health with episodes of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, among others. Meanwhile, the virus has not disappeared, despite vaccination campaigns and infection prevention measures. Now, the recovery of post-contagion symptoms is the new topic of analysis in which health is working. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso

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