The COVID-19 virus can affect multiple areas of the body, and patients who have recovered from COVID-19 may not always be aware of the full, long-term effects of the virus.
As a respiratory infection, COVID-19 can cause serious lung damage, such as inflammation, scarring, and respiratory distress. However, researchers have found that the novel coronavirus can cause damage elsewhere in the body.
Some people who experienced more severe cases of COVID-19 show signs of kidney damage, even individuals who had no preexisting kidney problems before the infection. In China and New York, as many as 30% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 developed moderate or severe kidney injury.
There are several possible reasons why COVID-19 may cause kidney damage. Receptors on the kidneys may make it easier for the virus to attack the tissues. The virus can also cause lower blood oxygen levels that hinder kidney function. Severe inflammation from the body’s own immune response also may cause damage.
COVID-19 can also have serious effects on the heart. According to Dr. Leslie Cooper, chair of the Department of Cardiology at Mayo Clinic, two of these cardiac issues include heart failure and arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythms. These may be caused by the infection itself, the body’s immune response, or medications used for treating COVID-19.
Older COVID-19 patients may experience cardiac issues if they already had coronary artery disease or hypertension before contracting the virus. In younger COVID-19 patients, the virus may cause primary myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation.
One study of patients in Wuhan, China found that more severe cases of COVID-19 can lead to neurologic symptoms. These symptoms involve either the central nervous system (causing issues such as dizziness, headaches, or impaired consciousness), the peripheral nervous system (affecting taste, smell, or vision) or skeletal muscular injuries.
Neurological symptoms are more common in severe cases, which were more likely in individuals who were older, had more underlying disorders, and had fewer typical symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever and cough. Possible causes include the virus’ pathway into the body, or inflammation from the body’s immune response.
How can an MRI help those who have recovered from COVID-19?
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan gives healthcare providers high-resolution images of the inside of the body. This can help them diagnose a variety of problems and monitor potential organ or tissue damage. A full-body MRI scan is noninvasive, fast, painless, and does not expose you to ionizing radiation like CT scans and X-rays.
In patients who have recovered from COVID-19, doctors can use a full-body MRI scan to examine the brain, sinuses, nasal cavities, heart, kidneys, and other areas that may have been affected by the disease. This can help patients and providers better understand the extent of the damage from the virus and how to address it.
Here at Ezra, we offer full-body MRI scans that can help you protect your long-term health. These safe, painless scans give you a look inside your body and detect possible damage from COVID-19. Get started today.