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Some COVID-19 patients experiencing long-term problems

Issues may last for months or more
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Posted at 6:30 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 19:06:30-05

INDIANAPOLIS — While many people infected with coronavirus experience a few weeks of symptoms and then return to their normal life, there are patients who are not so lucky.

Some patients are experiencing health problems for many months after their initial infection.

IU Health opened the ICU Survivor Center in June to help provide care to long term COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Sikandar Khan who is a Pulmonary Critical Care Doctor at IU Methodist Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary Critical Care at the Indiana University School of Medicine, says the patients that come to the clinic spent time in the ICU and in rehab. "A lot of them even three months after leaving the hospital or leaving rehab are still facing a lot of day-to-day challenges in their health,” said Dr. Khan.

Dr. Khan says about 60% of patients they’ve seen complain about quality of life problems months after having coronavirus. 40% of patients are still experiencing fatigue and stamina issues and many patients are also developing new mental health problems like depression, anxiety or PTSD.

Some patients are also having issues with memory and thinking. Hair loss in younger patients has also been a top concern.

Dr. Khan says many of these symptoms are related to the initial inflammation during the infection and the body will recover, but there are certain impacts that will be lifelong for some patients. "If they have had areas or injury to organs which causes scarring and permanent damage we don't think that will completely go away,” said Dr. Khan

Leaving those hit hardest by the live a life that will never fully return to normal.