More than 200 thousand people from Paraná suffer from the ‘Post-Covid Syndrome’

Between 10 and 20% of people who contract the new coronavirus suffer from symptoms of the disease even after recovering from the acute phase of the infection. The estimate is from the World Health Organization (WHO) and appears in the European Health Report 2021. And it reveals that, in Paraná alone, more than 200 thousand people would suffer (or will suffer) with the clinical condition known as long covid (also called in Brazil as persistent Covid or Post-Covid Syndrome), whose symptoms are “unpredictable and debilitating” and also affect mental health.

Since the new coronavirus pandemic became part of everyday life in Paraná, in March 2020, a total of 2,423,953 people have been infected in the state, with 42,803 dying, according to the most recent Epidemiological Report released by the Health Department. from Paraná. Also considering the WHO estimate, this means that between 230,000 and 480,000 people from Paraná suffer or will suffer from Post-Covid Syndrome.

In Curitiba, several health establishments are already treating patients with sequelae of Covid-19. At the end of last year, for example, the Hospital de Clínicas Complex of the Federal University of Paraná (CHC-UFPR/Ebserh/MEC) opened the Advanced Center for Post-Covid-19 Multiprofessional Care.

Hospital Universitário Cajuru, as well as Hospital São Vicente, Pilar Hospital and Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná (through the Integrated Post-Covid Rehabilitation Center), also carry out interdisciplinary work aimed at the recovery of those with persistent symptoms of the pandemic disease.

According to Dr. Thatiane Nakadomari, an infectious disease doctor at São Vicente Curitiba Hospital, after having Covid-19, the patient gradually recovers. “It always depends on the intensity of the symptoms he had, but he should gradually improve”, she explains, citing that the persistence of symptoms of the disease for more than three months after the end of the infection or even the emergence of new problems of health can be signs of Post-Covid Syndrome. “If it’s been 30 days [da infecção] and there was no improvement, it is necessary to seek medical help”, he indicates.

Among the most common dysfunctions in Post-Covid Syndrome are difficulty perceiving smells or odors, fatigue, dry cough, taste reduction or distortion, headache, dizziness, slowed thinking, transient memory loss, post-traumatic stress (more common in patients who have had to stay in the ICU) and gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or constipation.

“What we have noticed a lot among complaints from patients in the office, especially after the second wave, is excessive tiredness, persistence of respiratory symptoms and more neurological factors – depression, anxiety, drowsiness and forgetfulness”, reveals Dr. Nakadomari, further stating that these symptoms can occur in anyone who has had Covid-19, including a mild infection.

In the aforementioned European Health Report 2021, the WHO itself recognizes that data on Post-Covid Syndrome are still scarce. This implies the need for further studies on the subject. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the main conglomerates of research centers in the United States, began to survey the incidence of this problem.

“Some scientific articles still point out that these symptoms can simply be caused by stress. In the case of the patient who had mild Covid, this would occur due to the fear he had of evolving into a serious problem and of those who stayed in the ICU, due to the already known Critical Patient Syndrome, which causes several symptoms. The long-term effects of Covid-19 are not yet known, it is something that we are starting to verify now”, points out Dr. Thatiane Nakadomari, infectious disease physician at Hospital São Vicente Curitiba.

The specialist also points out that it is always essential that the patient seek medical help when there is a worsening or emergence of new symptoms after Covid-19. “There have already been some articles on the treatment and recovery of smell along with the recovery of taste. We already have rehabilitation manuals for fatigue, there is treatment for depression, rehabilitation with respiratory and motor physiotherapy, among others. The treatments are done according to the symptoms and if the patient adheres and follows all the care, he tends to recover very well”, emphasizes the infectious disease doctor.

Two studies carried out in Brazil – one by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP) and the other by researchers from the Federal University of Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri (UFVJM), in Minas Gerais – and recently released, brought important information about the impacts of Covid in the medium and long term.

The first study, from USP, was published in the scientific journal General Hospital Psychiatry and identified, after evaluating 425 adults who had moderate or severe Covid-19, that patients who had Covid-19 had a higher incidence of psychiatric disorders. The prevalence of common mental disorders in this group of post-covid patients, for example, was 32.2%, higher than that reported in the general Brazilian population (26.8%).

Regarding the diagnosis of depression, there was a prevalence of 8%, higher than that of the general Brazilian population (around 4% and 5%). Generalized anxiety disorders were present in 14.1%, a result also higher than the prevalence in the general Brazilian population (9.9%).

In addition, psychiatric outcomes were not associated with any clinical variable related to the severity of the disease in the acute phase, that is, they were not more prevalent in those patients who had a higher degree of inflammation, for example.

The UFVJM study, published in the Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical, reviewed dozens of articles and observed that 15 to 56% of patients who had been hospitalized with Covid-19 reported problems after being cured of the infection.

Among the physical problems, the most reported were pain and discomfort, especially in the thoracic region, joint and generalized myalgia. Other sequelae, in the mental sphere, also affected the quality of life of patients, with problems such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and fear of reinfection.

(Newsroom, with information from Bem Paraná)

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