What does coronavirus do to the lungs and why it is dangerous when it reaches them? Find out what is known so far and take care of yourself!

Research on how the coronavirus affects the lungs is just beginning, after examining the cases of those that have recovered from COVID-19. This disease is fatal for some, as well as there are indications that it diminishes the pulmonary function of certain patients.

What does coronavirus do to the lungs is, therefore, being examined. While we do not have complete data on the pandemic we only present the current information we have available.

However, there are indications that the coronavirus affects the lungs beyond what we know so far. There is already a group of patients who have been discharged after suffering from the disease. In the initial investigations, a decrease in lung capacity was found in some of them.

Apparently, there is damage in most cases, but these only generate significant effects in a small percentage of patients. It is currently unknown whether the way the coronavirus affects the lungs can have long-term consequences.

What does coronavirus do to the lungs?

That the coronavirus affects the lungs is a fact that is we already sufficiently know about. At the moment, a group belonging to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority said it found significant damage in a small group of people recovered from the disease.

The information initially appeared in the South China Morning Post, examining 12 patients with COVID-19. Initial tests suggest that two or three of them showed a decrease of between 20 and 30% in their lung capacity.

Likewise, the doctors found that 85% of the group saw frosted glass patterns in their lungs. This is a phenomenon whereby fluid builds up in the lungs and then crystallizes. It means that there is lung damage that, at least so far, has not disappeared after the discharge granted after COVID-19 infection.

In summary, of the 12 people evaluated, only three had normal lungs. The other nine had abnormalities, and in three of them such abnormalities had appreciable consequences on lung function.

Decreased lung capacity

Lung function is the measure of the lungs’ ability to breathe normally and to do its job of bringing oxygen to the blood and body tissues, while expelling carbon dioxide from the body. When a person has that decreased function, they cannot breathe properly.

According to a Lancet Respiratory Medicine study, when a young person has reduced lung function, the risk of developing some chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and cardiovascular problems increases. It also increases the danger of premature death.

Typically, lung capacity decreases with age, making older people more at risk for lung infections, shortness of breath, low oxygen, and problems such as sleep apnea. Doctors measure this lung capacity through different complementary methods, such as spirometry.

Data to take into account

If a larger population of recoveries is studied, new data will surely appear to complement the information. Therefore, you have to wait for more people to heal to have solid data.

Likewise,we do not yet know to what extent the coronavirus affects the lungs. We will know that over time. Therefore, the ideal is to avoid the disease, considering that it is still unknown if it can produce more severe consequences in the medium and long term.

It is a problem with solution

A decrease in lung capacity in some people is the main effect we know of so far. The good news is that this is a reversible condition, through a process of pulmonary rehabilitation. This has to do with a series of exercises and daily tasks to increase the ability to breathe.

Pulmonary rehabilitation includes training in certain breathing techniques, performing daily exercises, implementing tactics to avoid fatigue, proper diet and protection of the lungs. Swimming is one of the sports that helps improve lung health in these cases. So we can say that there is hope for the consequences that may remain.

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