As we reach the seemingly end of the deadly second wave of Covid-19 in India, several recovering patients are staring at the long road of dealing with lingering symptoms – now defined by doctors as “long covid”. Given the situation, News18 will run a 15-day “Decoding Long Covid” series in which doctors with different specialties raise concerns, recommend ways to deal with them, and suggest when to seek help.
In today’s column, Dr. Sweta Budyal, Senior Endocrinologist at Fortis Hospital Mulund in Mumbai, on why patients who recover may recur diabetes, viral thyroiditis and autoimmune disease flare-ups.
In an interview with News18, Dr. Budyal: “It is now common knowledge that diabetes increases the risk of Covid-19. With regard to Covid, however, we have long seen that it becomes significantly difficult to treat pre-existing diabetes in patients during the recovery period.
“More importantly, patients who have never had diabetes or who do not have the risk factors associated with the disease will continue to become diabetic after Covid. So Covid induces diabetes in some cases and this can continue long after steroid use is stopped, ”she added.
Aside from diabetes, one of the symptoms of Covid patients is diseased euthyroidism, which is abnormalities in the development of thyroid hormones during an acute illness. “It has been observed that several thyroid problems also occur during the recovery phase. Some people develop subacute thyroiditis or viral thyroiditis, which is characterized by more pronounced symptoms such as fever, sore throat or neck pain. Such conditions can last anywhere from eight to twelve weeks and may even require supportive treatment, ”the doctor said.
Third, many patients also have autoimmune problems during the recovery period. “We noticed a trend in the increase in type 1 diabetes after Covid in children. I also came across a rare case of insulin autoimmune hypoglycemia syndrome, ”Budyal said. The doctor said that while there have also been reports that the virus was extracted from testes and other endocrine organs, in these cases there are still longer effects to be studied after recovery.
In terms of metabolism, most Covid patients tend to lose weight, which they put on again after being infected. “Covid causes poor health, which in some cases may require a reduction in blood pressure medication,” she said.
The doctor said any physical change in dealing with long covid needs to be closely monitored and there is a need to keep in touch with a doctor who will help you navigate this stage.
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