Doctors have detected a worrying trend of cured Covid-19 patients returning after a few weeks with Pulmonary Fibrosis — scarring of lung tissues, breathlessness and muscle ache, and cough are the residual symptoms post-Covid. Internal swelling in lungs during acute Covid illness heals with scarring and shrinkage, resulting in a reduction in the lung capacity, which leads to breathlessness and cough.
Post-Covid pulmonary fibrosis stiffens lung tissues and makes it harder for the patient to breathe properly, sometimes requiring oxygen support. Surveys indicate around two in 10 hospitalised patients on oxygen may develop this complication. Correct management during acute Covid illness is important. The exact factors are unknown. Patients who show signs of post-Covid diffuse lung disease (lung fibrosis) might need prolonged treatment with certain drugs such as steroids and antifibrotic medicines.
Any viral illness triggers some weakness in which patients experience a lack of energy. If someone is used to working an entire day, the person may not be able to work after an hour post-Covid. Such patients are reported to be going with additional oxygen support to their homes.
Patients who are diabetic are facing fluctuating blood sugar levels after discharge. This is so, because Covid-19 patients are required to be treated with steroids. These medications are stepped down gradually over a period of time. With the stepping down of steroids, blood sugar levels also fluctuate.
It is clear that defeating the virus could be the start of the battle for COVID-19 patients. People with severe symptoms of the virus could be dealing with complications for years even after the recovery. COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness of the lungs which consist of air sacs where the fluid is filled, limiting their capacity to absorb oxygen which ultimately leads to symptoms like shortness of breath, cough etc. As there is initial lung damage caused it further leads to scarring of lungs due to which quality of life eventually comes down. That is the inflammation stage gives way to the fibrosis stage.
There is no cure for Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF). Current treatments are aimed at slowing the course of the disease, relieving symptoms and helping you stay active and healthy. Treatments for Pulmonary Fibrosis include:
While there is no cure or a treatment for pulmonary fibrosis, with healthy lifestyle choices, we can ease down the ill effects of the disease.
Eat right: Many people with pulmonary fibrosis wonder if there is a pulmonary fibrosis diet. The best PF diet is the one that helps you maintain a healthy weight for your body and makes you feel the best. If you are overweight, it can create more pressure on your lungs which can make it even harder to breathe. It also increases your risk for other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. If you are underweight, you may have less energy, which leads to weakening of the muscles that help with breathing. It can also put you at risk for diseases such as osteoporosis.
Stay active: Staying physically active is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a good quality of life. It not only helps you physically, but it can also relieve your stress and improve your self-esteem. It can be challenging for PF patients to work up the confidence to exercise. It seems counterintuitive to exercise if you have shortness of breath. However, physical activity can make your body stronger, so you become less short of breath doing everyday activities.
Reduce your stress: A diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis brings up many thoughts, feelings and emotions. The side effects of PF, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, can also impact your mood. It is common for people with pulmonary fibrosis to experience depression and anxiety or just feel general stress. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help you feel better.
Manage your side effects: Managing the symptoms and side effects that come from pulmonary fibrosis and its related treatments is something every PF patient has to face. Below are some common PF side effects and tips for coping with them...
1. Shortness of breath: If you feel tightness in your chest along with chest pain, fever and trouble in breathing, then call your doctor immediately. One can combat shortness of breath by practising breathing techniques daily.
2. Cough: The cough associated with PF is usually dry cough. It can be triggered by talking, eating, laughing or exercising. Drink fluids, such as hot tea, with honey.
3. Fatigue: Get plenty of rest and take short naps.
4. Acid reflux: Avoid acidic foods such as tomatoes, coffee and chocolate.
5. Gastrointestinal issues: Some medications for treating PF can cause nausea, lack of appetite and diarrhea. Always take your medication with a meal. Take a walk before you eat.
Apart from making positive changes in your lifestyle, simple Su-Jok techniques too can help fight back different problems related to lungs. All you have to do is fine the primary and secondary points, which are given below. Stimulate these points by pasting methi seeds, and place surgical tape on the points that are painful.
1) Attack of wind, cold on lungs restricts lungs: Symptoms -- Common cold, coughing, sputum rattles in bronchi, dyspnea, fever and no sweating.
Principal points: Lu 7, 10, K 7, Li 4, UB 12, 13
Secondary points: Tw 5, CV 12
2) Dyspnea: Symptoms -- Sputum difficult to cough up, body hot, mouth dry, face red, health gets worse after midday and tongue’s coat turns slightly yellow.
Primary Points: Lu 5, 9, 10, UB 13, 15
Secondary Points: P 6, Si 4, Lu 1
3) Phlegm obstructed in lungs: Symptoms -- Dyspnea, sputum rattles, chest and diaphragm blocked, melancholy, tongue furred yellow and greasy.
Primary points: P 6, Lu 5, CV 22
Secondary points: St 40, CV 12
4) Phlegm in bronchi attacks upwards: Symptoms -- Inability to sleep due to coughing, difficulty in breathing, thin saliva causes blockage and the tongue turns white.
Primary points: Lu 5, CV 12, Liv 13
Secondary points: P 6, St 36, UB 20
5) Energy rebels & attacks upwards: Symptoms -- Dyspnea, no sputum, chest rib swollen, melancholy, large deep pulse etc.
Principal points: UB 13, CV 17, GV 10, St 36
Secondary points: Lu 1, CV 22
6) Lungs empty, weak energy: Symptoms -- Breathing short and difficult, unable to rest, night sweats, face turns white and tongue becomes pale.
Primary points: CV 6, 17, UB 37, 38
Secondary point: St 36
7) Kidneys don’t transmit energy: Symptoms -- The patient appears haggard and emaciated, mouth becomes dry, does not like to drink water, frequent urination with clear urine and a pale tongue.
Primary points: K 6, CV 4, UB 23
Secondary points: St 36
8) Wind heat enters lungs: Symptoms -- Dislikes cold, face and lips turn red, dyspnea, Slight white coat on tongue etc.
Principal points: CV 17, UB 12, 13
Secondary points: Lu 7, CV 22, St 40
9) Wind & cold dyspnea: Symptoms -- Dyspnea, coughing, sputum watery, dislikes cold and there’s a white coat on the tongue.
Primary points: CV 6, UB 12, 13
Secondary points: CV 12, St 36
10) Interior heat dyspnea: Rich hot food & excess eating causes excess heat in the body Internal heat causes dyspnea. Symptoms -- Coughing, sputum glutinous, lips and face turns red, it can also lead to heart issues.
Principal points: CV 12, Liv 13
Secondary points: P 6, St 40
11) Good constitution but empty lungs: Symptoms -- Breathing short and rapid, dyspnoea only intermittently, low voice, face turns white, minute pulse etc.
Principal points: CV 6, UB 37, 38
Secondary points: Li 10
12) Phlegm fluids remain in lungs: Symptoms -- Sputum rattles in throat, dyspnea, unable to rest, and a thick white coat on tongue.
Primary points: UB 13, CV 12, St 40
Secondary points: CV 22
13) Chronic dyspnea: Symptoms -- Phlegm floating in lungs, sputum rattles, dyspnea, it becomes difficult when attack is severe. Unseasonal weather causes attacks, Attacks are intermittent and ease spontaneously, face white, lips colorless, all types of food may cause attack, wiry and weak pulse.
Primary points: CV 22, UB 13, 38
Secondary points: Lu 5, St 36
14) Slight dyspnea at all times: Symptoms -- Dyspnea deteriorates with exertion, Face turns white, voice becomes weak, pulse slippery and thick white coat on tongue.
Primary points: UB 13, 38, GV 12
Secondary points: CV 5, St 36
15) Horse spleen wind: Symptoms -- Severe dyspnea, heated lungs, chest withered, hurried breathing, lungs swollen, ribs and nose agitated, feeling distressed, ribs in both sides collapse, and become concave, floating and rapid pulse.
Primary points: CV 12, 17
Secondary points Lu 10, Tw 2
16) Chronic dyspnea: Symptoms -- Dyspnea, sputum rattles, nose blocked, small amount of clear mucus from nose, nostril turns red etc.
Primary point: UB 12,13, 38, GV 16
Secondary points: Lu 7, Tw 5, St 36