Health

What are the organs most affected by COVID 19?

Coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, is a globally announced pandemic that has been causing a disruption in almost everyone’s lives. It is contagious and caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 ( SARS-COV-2). The first case was identified in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province in China. There are different types of COVID-19 vaccines (jenis vaksin covid 19) available and people should get vaccinated to prevent severe illness.

Now, how does this virus cause chaos in your body? The virus is known to be an airborne respiratory virus, which means it spreads primarily through droplets that are created when an infected person coughs, sneezes or also through droplets of saliva or nasal discharge. Besides, people can also be infected if they have physical contact with surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus then touching their nose, mouth or eyes if they do not wash their hands. Now, how does the virus cause an infection? The virus enters the healthy cells in the body. There, the virus, which is the invader, would replicate and make copies of itself and multiply throughout the body. The latest coronavirus fastens its spiky surface proteins to receptors on healthy cells, more markedly the cells in the lungs. In the end, this will lead to the killing of the healthy cells.

COVID-19 is widely known to affect the upper respiratory tract, including the sinuses, the nose and the throat, and the lower respiratory tract, which consists of the trachea and the lungs. The lungs are the most common organ affected by COVID-19. The virus attacks the host cells through the receptor for the enzyme angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE 2), which is the highest on the surface of the lungs. Once the virus creates a passage, within 12-24 days, the immune system will start to respond.

The next organ the virus can affect is the heart, which is the cardiovascular system. It can cause acute myocardial injury. The statistics show cardiovascular inflammation is high, and this is due to the systemic inflammatory response. One of the factors contributing to acute myocardial injury is the presence of ACE2 receptors in the heart. Patients who have been transferred to the intensive care unit have a higher chance of developing blood clots and venous thromboembolism. Patients with this condition have a poorer outcome.

Another organ that is commonly damaged is the kidney. Statistics in Wuhan, China and New York show that up to 30% of patients admitted to hospitals are reported to have an injury to the kidneys. Some of the patients who are currently reporting kidney injuries do not have coexisting kidney conditions. The virus is also known to affect the organs in the gastrointestinal system. The ACE2 is also commonly found in the duodenal, gastric, and rectal epithelium. Thus, several studies have reported gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and reduced appetite.

The following system is reported to be involved in the central nervous system (CNS). However, there are still doubts regarding this theory as the pathogenesis remains unknown. The central nervous system is said to be involved because some patients show neurological or mental health issues.

In conclusion, there is a long-standing saying that goes like “prevention is better than cure”. One of the ways we can avoid organ damage is by frequent hand washing. Hand cleaning can also be done with hand sanitisers that contain alcohol or with soap and water. It is important to ensure proper hand hygiene as we do not know if we can come in contact with contaminated surfaces, and it can then cause infection, especially if we keep touching our nose, eyes and mouth. The next step of prevention is always to wear a mask to protect ourselves. Finally, we should all never forget social distancing. Together, the human race shall win.

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