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Covid-19 can hit body’s immune system causing GANGRENE and arthritis

Covid-19 can hit body’s immune system causing GANGRENE and arthritis

From a dry cough to a loss of sense of smell, Covid-19 is associated with a range of unpleasant symptoms.Now, a new study has warned of another side e

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From a dry cough to a loss of sense of smell, Covid-19 is associated with a range of unpleasant symptoms.

Now, a new study has warned of another side effect being experienced by some Covid-19 patients – gangrene.

Researchers have warned that Covid-19 can cause long-term muscle and joint issues, including arthritis, gangrene and ‘Covid toes’.

An analysis of MRI scans taken of patients experiencing these symptoms suggests that the virus can trigger the body’s immune system to attack itself, leading to these long-lasting rheumatological issues.

The study follows recent reports of a Covid-infected woman who had to have three fingers amputated in Italy after the disease ravaged her blood vessels. Other sufferers have also had to undergo amputations.

Researchers have warned that Covid-19 can cause long-term muscle and joint issues, including arthritis, gangrene and 'Covid toes'. In this scan, the grey part of the foot is devitalised tissue (gangrene)

Researchers have warned that Covid-19 can cause long-term muscle and joint issues, including arthritis, gangrene and 'Covid toes'. In this scan, the grey part of the foot is devitalised tissue (gangrene)

Researchers have warned that Covid-19 can cause long-term muscle and joint issues, including arthritis, gangrene and ‘Covid toes’. In this scan, the grey part of the foot is devitalised tissue (gangrene)

WHAT IS GANGRENE? 

Gangrene is a serious condition where a loss of blood supply causes body tissue to die. It can affect any part of the body but typically starts in the toes, feet, fingers and hands.

Gangrene can occur as a result of an injury, infection or a long-term condition that affects blood circulation.

Symptoms of gangrene include:

• redness and swelling in the affected area

• either a loss of sensation or severe pain in the affected area

• sores or blisters in the affected area that bleed or produce a foul-smelling pus

You should see your GP immediately if you’re worried you may have gangrene. 

Source: NHS 

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Previous studies have also found a link between coronavirus infection and muscle or joint pain, but this is the first time that these symptoms have been illustrated through radiological scans. 

In the study, the team from Northwestern University used various imaging techniques including CT scans, MRI and ultrasounds, to visualise the causes of gangrene and other long-term muscle and joint pain in Covid-19 patients. 

Dr Swati Deshmukh, who led the study, said: ‘We’ve realised that the COVID virus can trigger the body to attack itself in different ways, which may lead to rheumatological issues that require lifelong management.

‘Many patients with COVID-related musculoskeletal disorders recover, but for some individuals, their symptoms become serious, are deeply concerning to the patient or impact their quality of life, which leads them to seek medical attention and imaging.

‘That imaging allows us to see if COVID-related muscle and joint pain, for example, are not just body aches similar to what we see from the flu – but something more insidious.’

Gangrene can occur as a result of an injury, infection or a long-term condition that affects blood circulation.

The NHS explained: ‘Gangrene is a serious condition where a loss of blood supply causes body tissue to die. It can affect any part of the body but typically starts in the toes, feet, fingers and hands.’

The COVID virus triggered rheumatoid arthritis in this patient with prolonged shoulder pain after other Covid symptoms resolved. The red arrow points to inflammation in the joint

The COVID virus triggered rheumatoid arthritis in this patient with prolonged shoulder pain after other Covid symptoms resolved. The red arrow points to inflammation in the joint

The COVID virus triggered rheumatoid arthritis in this patient with prolonged shoulder pain after other Covid symptoms resolved. The red arrow points to inflammation in the joint

In terms of how gangrene and other joint and muscle symptoms appear on radiological scans, Dr Deshmukh explained that there are several key signs to look out for. 

‘We might see edema and inflammatory changes of the tissues (fluid, swelling), hematomas (collections of blood) or devitalized tissue (gangrene),’ she said.

‘In some patients, the nerves are injured (bright, enlarged) and in others, the problem is impaired blood flow (clots).’ 

Gruesome pictures published in a medical journal showed how the digits on the hands of an unidentified 86-year-old woman turned black after she contracted coronavirus in March

Gruesome pictures published in a medical journal showed how the digits on the hands of an unidentified 86-year-old woman turned black after she contracted coronavirus in March

Gruesome pictures published in a medical journal showed how the digits on the hands of an unidentified 86-year-old woman turned black after she contracted coronavirus in March

While the findings indicate that Covid-19 infection can trigger joint and muscle issues, the researchers highlight that the virus itself doesn’t directly cause these symptoms. 

Covid-infected woman has three fingers amputated after disease turned them BLACK by ravaging her blood vessels 

A Covid-infected woman had three fingers amputated after the disease ravaged her blood vessels. 

Gruesome pictures published in a medical journal showed how the unidentified 86-year-old’s digits turned black.

Doctors in Italy, who had to cut off her gangrenous fingers, called her case a ‘severe manifestation’ of coronavirus.  

It is believed the Italian patient had suffered blood clots which cut off supply to her fingers.   

She was put on blood-thinning drugs  after doctors noticed she had a lack of blood flowing into her heart.

While in hospital in March 2020 she tested positive for Covid-19.  

However, she had no common symptoms of coronavirus, including a fever, cough, loss or change in smell or taste. 

A month later, she went back to hospital after her index, ring and little finger on her right hand had turned black.   

She had developed dry gangrene which results when the blood flow to a certain part of the body becomes blocked.     

Medics found she had low pressure in the common digital arteries, which are small vessels that travel through the palm of the hand before splitting to provide blood to the fingers. 

Professor Graham Cooke, involved with the National Institute for Health Research, a research arm of the NHS, said: ‘It’s important to note Covid is a multi-system disease.

‘I think one of the features that seems to separate it from other severe viral disease is this more hypercoagulable state that seems to be associated with later disease.’

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Dr Deshmukh said: ‘I think it’s important to differentiate between what the virus causes directly and what it triggers the body to do. 

‘It’s important for doctors to know what’s happening in order to treat correctly.’ 

Gruesome pictures published recently in a medical journal showed how the fingers of an 86-year-old Italian woman, who hasn’t been named, turned black. 

It is believed the Italian patient had suffered blood clots which cut off supply to her fingers and resulted in them turning black and having to be amputated.

She was originally admitted to hospital in March 2020 after doctors detected a lack of blood flowing to her heart – she tested positive for Covid-19 during a routine swab. 

However, she had no common symptoms of coronavirus, including a fever, cough, loss or change in smell or taste. 

A month later, she went back to hospital after her index, ring and little finger on her right hand had turned black.

Doctors in Fermo, who had to cut off her gangrenous digits, called her case a ‘severe manifestation’ of coronavirus. 

Experts are unsure why the virus caused the blockages, but the leading theory is that it is the result of an immune system overreaction known as a ‘cytokine storm’. 

She is not the only Covid patient to have had their fingers amputated.

Gregg Garfield, 54, from Studio City, California, had two fingers removed as a result of extensive tissue and muscle damage after contracting Covid on a ski trip with a group of friends in northern Italy last February.

He was one of the first Covid-19 patients in California and was given just a one per cent chance of surviving the virus when admitted to hospital in the Spring.

For Garfield, a strong athlete who wasn’t used to being severely ill, the symptoms were crippling, forcing him to spend three days in his hotel room when he first started showing symptoms during a skiing trip to Italy in February 2020. 

Within just two days of returning home and being admitted to hospital, Garfield’s oxygen levels plummeted and he was hooked up to a ventilator.

The virus launched a full-scale assault on his immune system, causing high fevers, perilously low blood pressure, a staph infection and sepsis throughout his body. 

By that time he had lost 50lbs and sections of eight of his fingers that were damaged beyond repair by poor blood circulation.

Gregg Garfield, one of California's first COVID-19 patients who was given a one percent chance of survival when he spent 64 days in the hospital last spring, has opened up about his harrowing battle with the virus to convince others to take it seriously. Garfield is pictured in the hospital with his fiance A.J. Johnson

Gregg Garfield, one of California's first COVID-19 patients who was given a one percent chance of survival when he spent 64 days in the hospital last spring, has opened up about his harrowing battle with the virus to convince others to take it seriously. Garfield is pictured in the hospital with his fiance A.J. Johnson

On March 5 Gregg Garfield, 54, checked into Providence St Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, where he was given the nickname ‘patient zero’. Within just two days his oxygen levels plummeted and he was hooked up to a ventilator, where he would remain for the next month

He has since undergone seven surgeries to repair his fingers and toes and is working to repair lung function through daily exercise. 

Meanwhile father-of-two Mal Martin from Cardiff, lost his left thumb, a forefinger and a half a finger last year after he contracted coronavirus and spent 61 days on a ventilator.

Dubbed ‘miracle Mal’ for surviving the virus, he has permanently lost vision in his right eye as well as losing a number of digits on his hands.

Mal Martin, 58, pictured last week, spent 61 days on a ventilator after being taken to Bridgend's Princess of Wales Hospital in March and ended up permanently losing vision in his right eye

Mal Martin, 58, pictured last week, spent 61 days on a ventilator after being taken to Bridgend's Princess of Wales Hospital in March and ended up permanently losing vision in his right eye

Mal Martin, 58, pictured last week, spent 61 days on a ventilator after being taken to Bridgend’s Princess of Wales Hospital in March and ended up permanently losing vision in his right eye

He is recovering at home but can still ‘only walk so far’ due to the lasting conditions from the deadly virus that has already claimed 118,000 lives in the UK alone. 

Mr Martin, who is diabetic but was previously healthy before he contracted Covid-19, was given ‘almost zero’ chance of surviving after being admitted to hospital. 

His wife Sue Martin, 49, and their children got ten minutes to say a final goodbye before he was put into the coma, but doctors described his recovery as a ‘miracle’.  

LONG COVID: WHAT IS IT AND COULD IT BE FOUR DIFFERENT SYNDROMES?

Covid-19 is described as a short-term illness caused by infection with the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Public health officials tend to say people will recover within two weeks or so. 

However it’s become increasingly clear that this is not the case for everyone, and that the two-week period is only the ‘acute illness’ phase.

The North Bristol NHS Trust’s Discover project, which is studying the longer-term effects of coronavirus, found that out of a total of 110 patients given a three-month check up, most (74 per cent) had at least one persistent symptom after twelve weeks. The most common were:

  • Excessive fatigue: 39%
  • Breathlessness: 39%
  • Insomnia: 24%  
  • Muscle pain: 23%
  • Chest pain: 13%
  • Cough: 12%
  • Loss of smell: 12%
  • Headache, fever, joint pain and diarrhoea: Each less than 10% 

Other long term symptoms that have been reported by Covid-19 survivors, both suspected and confirmed, anecdotally, include hearing problems, ‘brain fog’, memory loss, lack of concentration, mental health problems and hair loss.

The impact of Long Covid on people who had mild illness have not been studied in depth yet.  

Data from the King’s College London symptom tracking app shows that up to 500,000 people in the UK are currently suffering from the long-term effects of Covid-19.

In October, scientists claimed Long Covid could actually be split into four different syndromes.  

Academics at the National Institute for Health Research — headed up by Professor Chris Whitty — were asked to review the limited evidence on long Covid to help both patients and doctors understand the ‘phenomenon’. 

Their findings warned that even children can suffer and it can’t be assumed that people who are at lower risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 are also at low risk of lasting side effects.

Doctors cautioned some mental health problems such as anxiety and depression in ‘long-haulers’, as they are known, could be down to lockdowns, as opposed to the virus itself. 

The experts also claimed that the symptoms could be grouped into four different groups: 

  • Post intensive care syndrome (PICS)
  • Post viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) 
  • Permanent organ damage (POD)  
  • Long term Covid syndrome (LTCS) 
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This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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