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Surviving Covid-19: What’s Next?

Surviving Covid-19: What’s Next?

The coronavirus pandemic has created some new, unanswered questions that still need to be resolved. For those who contracted the virus and have survived, what is the next step? Since the long-term effects of Covid-19 are relatively unknown, how does it affect our bodies down the road? What exactly can we do as far as exercise as we recover from our bout with coronavirus? We here at HPFY can give you some important information and guidance as you recover from Covid-19.

 

Dealing with Uncertainty During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While the doctors and scientists have identified the symptoms of Covid-19, the long-term, lasting effects on our bodies are still relatively unknown. Many people who have recovered from bouts with coronavirus have reported experiencing lasting and possibly permanent effects from this virus. As we all know, Covid-19 or the coronavirus is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs, but we are also learning that this virus can negatively affect our hearts, blood vessels, and other of our vital organs. Since the virus affects how our body utilizes the oxygen we breathe, this can have a trickle-down effect throughout our body, including our heart. Some potential issues can include:

  • Heart inflammation
  • Oxygen reduction to the heart
  • Blood vessel inflammation
  • Blood clots
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of smell/taste
  • Heart palpitations

 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has presented a list of underlying medical conditions that can contribute to a severe case of Covid-19.

The Journal of American College of Cardiology, at a recent review, showed evidence of heart involvement in roughly 25% of hospitalized coronavirus patients. Some centers even had 30% or higher. Other coronavirus studies have shown higher levels of enzyme levels and other potential evidence of heart damage in patients with milder cases of Covid-19. The unsettling part is that we don’t know if these effects are permanent or not. Do we need to monitor the effects on our other organs to fully understand the negative impact of Covid-19. One way to monitor your heart is with:

Eko DUO ECG+ Digital Stethoscope: This advanced stethoscope can provide unprecedented insight into cardiac function directly to your smart device. It is FDA, CE cleared, and ISO 13485 certified for clinicians to monitor the heart’s electrical activity and screen for potential arrhythmias with 60x amplification of heart and other body sounds. The Essentials Plan of this Digital stethoscope allows clinicians to record and save sounds and ECGs for further analysis or consultations for a second opinion.

For example, the NCAA has extended protocols for quarantine of their athletes who test positive due to this potential cardiac impact.

Covide-19 Damage not limited to lungs

COVID-19 Supplies

 

Exercising after COVID-19 recovery

Covid-19 Recovery

As you recover from this respiratory infection and want to start exercising to return to normal, there are some steps that may need to be taken. First and foremost, you should discuss any, repeat any, exercise routine with your doctor or pulmonologist before beginning. The first step as you can imagine is rest…lots of rest. This allows your body to recover from battling the internal infection of Covid-19. One potential avenue for recovery is vitamin D. This supplement is a fat-soluble vitamin that is especially important for immune system health, leading some to believe it may help ward off or fight a Covid-19 infection. Some research has shown that healthy levels of vitamin D can keep your immune system functioning optimally and those hospitalized with Covid-19 and had sufficient levels of vitamin D had a reduced risk of adverse outcomes and death. More studies will need to be completed before definitively knowing that vitamin D has a positive effect on coronavirus therapy or prevention. Some exercises you may want to attempt while you recover can include:

  • Breathing Exercises: This can help restore your diaphragm function and lung capacity. Start slow so you can build up the ability to breathe deeply during any activity. Do not begin this type of exercise if you experience a fever, shortness of breath at rest, or chest pains. Look for swelling in your legs and if this occurs, contact your physician.
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing: Deep breathing using your diaphragm can help restore lung function by breathing through your nose and encouraging your nervous system to relax and restore itself. This should be done in phases or stages. Phase 1 includes deep breathing while on your back, phase 2 does the same but from on your stomach, phase 3 involves deep breathing while sitting, and phase 4 incorporate standing. One great tool is:
  • The Breather Respiratory Muscle Training Device: This device helps strengthen the inspiratory/expiratory muscles that we use for breathing. This drug-free option decreases shortness of breath has adjustable and independent pressure settings and improves blood flow. It is lightweight and portable so you can take your respiratory exercises with you wherever you go.
  • Turn Your Yawn into a Smile: Seems simple, huh? This exercise incorporates movement with deep breathing. By reaching your arms overhead and starting a yawn, simply bring your arms down and finish with a smile for three seconds. This can increase coordination and give your diaphragm space to expand.
  • Humming: By humming while you exhale, nitric oxide production is increased which helps with neural plasticity. It also dilates blood vessels which can deliver more oxygen to parts of your body that may have been starved due to the coronavirus hampering lung function. Plus, it is soothing and relaxing and can lower stress levels. It doesn’t mean you have forgotten the words to your favorite song!!

 

Recovering from coronavirus can be a long road. Since long-term effects are not known, anyone who recovers from this virus and decides to start exercising should do so only at their doctor's recommendation and supervision. Simple breathing exercises can lead to more strenuous activity (like walking) as you progress. Care should be taken to start slowly and not progress too quickly. As with any other type of exercise, you should stop immediately if you feel lightheaded or have any chest tightening out all. Feel better and stay safe!!

 

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