COVID-19 could cause more severe health issues in the long run, doctors say

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — The long-term effects of COVID-19 could cause more severe health issues than the virus itself.

“The impact of this disease is not just an immediate one. In the hospitals, including severity of illness and death, it’s going to be a long term one. We’re talking about months or years after they have survived their illness,” said Valley Baptist ICU Director Jamil Madi.

He said between 40 to 80 percent of patients in ICU’S show post physical and mental impairments.

“The mental effect includes depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Madi.

The amount of medication intake during hospital stays could lead to organ dysfunctions in the future, he added.

“Patients who are admitted to the ICU’s are on multiple medications. They’re on sedatives, they’re on paralytics, they’re on ventilators,” said Madi.

Aside from age, Madi said the condition a patient was in prior to COVID determines how they will recover.

“It’s probably individualized. It depends on the person, their immune system. How long were they on ventilators, how long were they sedated. What’s their functionality coming in, what’s their base status coming in?”

Doctors said beyond damaging lungs in severe cases, the effect can impact the heart, kidneys, liver, and the brain.

“It is going to be quite interesting to see how their capabilities are going to function in the community,” Madi said.

Experts have yet to see the full impact COVID will have on survivors.

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