“The COVID-19 virus can affect your health in many ways,” says Dr. von Schwarz.
The respiratory system, meaning the lungs is often affected. The virus causes swelling of the airways as a result of the inflammation which in turn reduces the oxygen absorption in the lungs and this can lead to lack of oxygen in all organs. Patients then might end up on a ventilator with adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in many cases.
The heart, where the infection can cause lack of oxygen especially in patients with underlying coronary artery disease, meaning calcification of the blood vessels in the heart, causing more lack of oxygen with possible heart muscle damage. In addition, the virus can directly weaken the heart muscle even in young and completely healthy individuals by causing a virus-induced myocarditis, an inflammation of heart muscle cells which can result in arrhythmia and sudden death or progressive weakness with congestive heart failure. In fact, most of the young doctors and nurses who died from COVID-19 died of acute heart failure. The virus can bite the heart and leave a scar – or it can eat it alive!
The vascular system can be affected as a result of an inflammation of the blood vessels with resulting clots that can lead to blockage of arteries in every organ from the brain to the kidneys among others.
The virus causes a generalized inflammatory response called a cytokines storm with activation of clotting factors, fever, muscle weakness, and general malaise similar to the way we feel when we get any infection like a flu. This then can lead to a reduction of blood pressure secondary to a widening of the blood vessels and in severe cases to a shock with multi organ failure.
In addition our gut organs, the liver, the intestines and the kidneys can be affected, likely as a result of the bodies immune reaction rather than by the virus itself with reduced metabolic and blood cleaning functions of the liver and kidneys, diarrhea and gastrointestinal bleeding complications.