How does the Coronavirus affect your respiratory system?

Health and Wellness

by | Mar 31, 2021

Corona viruses are a class of respiratory viruses known to cause respiratory illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe illnesses such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The temperature and the type of surface determine the lifespan of the virus. The Corona virus can survive from 2 hours to 9 days. At higher temperatures, such as 30 to 40°C, its viability decreases considerably, whereas a  temperature of 4°C can keep the virus alive for up to 28 days.

Covid-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus strain, can cause lung complications such as Pneumonia and, in the most severe cases, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

What causes  COVID-19 Pneumonia?

During the respiratory process, a healthy pair of lungs inhale air resulting in its 480 million tiny air sacs (the alveoli) filling up with oxygen. This oxygen then diffuses into the bloodstream through a network of tiny blood vessels, called capillaries, surrounding the lungs. At the same time carbon dioxide from the blood diffuses into the air sacs before being exhaled.

Corona virus complications can result in Pneumonia when infection and inflammation of the air sacs prevent the efficient exchange of gases causing severe breathing difficulties and lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.

Covid-19 Pneumonia is considered to be severe and dangerous as it can lead to widespread organ damage and failure, abnormal blood clotting, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and death. Severe cases of Corona virus Pneumonia require immediate medical intervention.

Pneumonia is a concern, particularly for the aged as they have reduced lung capacity, a weaker immune system and thus may take a longer time to heal.

In addition, those with chronic diseases and conditions are also susceptible.

This includes:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Immuno-compromised or immuno-suppressed conditions
  • Obesity

Symptoms of Severe Pneumonia Caused by Coronavirus:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Cough (with or without mucous)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Significant shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweats
  • Headache
  • Weakness


Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

As Covid-19 Pneumonia progresses, more of the air sacs become filled with fluid leaking from the tiny blood vessels in the lungs. The fluid restricts the lungs from filling up with enough air, which means less oxygen reaches the bloodstream. Eventually, shortness of breath sets in, and can lead to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a form of lung failure.

Patients with ARDS are often unable to breath on their own and may require ventilator support to help circulate oxygen in the body.

ARDS typically occurs in people who are already critically ill or who have significant complications. The risk of death increases with the patient’s age, the severity of the illness and underlying risk factors.

Of the people who survive ARDS, some recover completely while others experience lasting damage to their lungs.

The signs and symptoms of ARDS can vary in intensity, depending on its cause and severity, as well as the presence of underlying heart or lung disease. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Labored and unusually rapid breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion and extreme tiredness

Maintain social distancing, follow a regular exercise regimen and a healthy diet to protect yourself from Covid-19. If you do contact the disease, first and foremost, don’t panic. Seek medical help and follow your doctor’s advice. Yoga and Breathing Exercises can be beneficial in boosting your lung capacity and Immunity.



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