The majority of those infected with the corona are mildly ill with the disease caused by the virus.
Many of those who end up in hospital also recover from the disease and return home.
But what effects does the illness of a serious disease have on those who recover from it?
Finnish doctors and researchers interviewed by STT say that recovery from coronary heart disease, which requires hospitalization, can take up to months.
The long-term effects of corona in severely ill patients are so far difficult to assess.
In the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital districts (Hus), about every second coronary patient discharged from hospital care still has noticeable changes in the lungs after three months, says Pirkko Brander, chief physician of the Hus Lung Diseases Department.
The changes observed in the follow-up can be seen in studies such as lung x-rays or breath tests.
It is noted from Hus that changes in such studies do not automatically affect human functioning.
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Brander is confident that most survivors of the acute phase of the disease will recover well over time.
- In other pneumonias, the damage heals for the most part, but it lasts.
Here, the recovery time may be a little longer, Brander says.
Professor of Virology Ilkka Julkunen from the University of Turku points out that full recovery from pneumonia, for example, is always reasonably slow.
Julkunen compares the recovery of the lungs to the healing of a broken bone: recovery continues even after the plaster has been removed.
"May affect life expectancy to some extent"
Jarmo Oksi, Chief Physician of the Infection Responsibility Area at Turku University Central Hospital (Tyks), says that a serious disease can also damage the heart, brain or kidneys.
He said each of these lesions has been found in about five percent of those hospitalized for corona.
It is unclear how well the lesions heal after recovery from the disease.
The duration of the pandemic has been so short that an accurate assessment of the long-term effects is so far difficult.
- As a doctor, and infection as a doctor would start only six months time considered to be significant because of a sharp recovery from the disease easily take even a few months, especially for older people.
Hus is undergoing long-term follow-up of coronary patients in intensive care.
Specialist Johanna Hästbacka does not want to comment on the ongoing study.
Information on the results is expected next year at the earliest.
Recovery does not always restore endurance
According to the interviewees, any long-term changes apply specifically to those who have been hospitalized.
The majority of those infected with coronary heart disease have a mild form of the disease.
- It is very unlikely that any long-term symptoms would occur if they were not present even in the acute phase, Julkunen says.
Not all long-term effects of corona can be measured clinically.
According to Hus chief physician Brander, many of those discharged from the hospital have experienced symptoms of fatigue and shortness of breath, even if there are no noticeable changes in the lungs.
Some have experienced pain, coughing, headaches, and anxiety.
- One study has described that the symptoms are similar to those of traumatic stress disorders.
The illness has been a serious situation and has been triggered by a whole body reaction, Brander ponders.