An increasing number of people have recovered from the coronavirus. And more and more often they face the so-called post-COVID syndrome. Recently, Ukrainian doctors held a press conference Post-COVID Syndrome—an Interdisciplinary Approach, where they discussed the problem itself. I will explain what post-COVID syndrome is and how to overcome it in today's column.
What post-COVID syndrome is
Postcoid syndrome is a symptom complex. The word "syndrome" indicates that this disease includes several symptoms. As a rule, they involve some other chronic or latent pathology. For example, if cardiovascular pathology prevails in a patient, then this problem will be in the first place in the post-COVID syndrome. It can be cardiac angina and arrhythmia.
In patients with chronic lung pathology, post-COVID syndrome will always be accompanied by the development of broncho-obstructive syndrome; bronchial asthma—by increased symptoms of bronchial asthma. Patients with chronic pathology of the excretory system immediately develop kidney problems; the endocrine one—diabetes mellitus.
In the post-COVID syndrome, pathological conditions are manifested on the part of many organs and systems: respiration, cardiovascular system, psychosomatics, and the central nervous system. There can be depression, aggressive states, and emotional breakdowns.
How to overcome post-COVID syndrome
Prompt and proper treatment according to the protocol allows the patient to recover faster. Often we find a pile of unnecessary drugs in prescriptions, drugs that are not included in any European or Ukrainian COVID protocols. The most important thing is the proper treatment: do not self-treat, but go to a doctor.
As soon as a person reaches the recovery stage, it is necessary to start doing breathing exercises so that the lung tissue can recover. You can start with children's breathing exercises according to Tolkachev. Another way is to take a usual cocktail straw and blow through it into a cup of water. After two weeks of light gymnastics, make the exercises more difficult—do breathing exercises according to Strelnikova or Buteyko. They will allow the lung parenchyma to recover faster.
The course of the post-COVID syndrome also depends on the baggage of chronic diseases that the patient has. If these are pathologies of the respiratory system, then always amid the treatment of coronavirus, the family doctor or pulmonologist prescribes the necessary amount of therapy to the patient that will allow the lung tissue to recover faster. It can be expectorants, antispasmodics, thinners, both in the form of tablets and in the form of inhalation.
In most cases, inhalation therapy gives a more pronounced and combined effect for patients with chronic pulmonary pathology. Using inhalations, we deliver the drug, bypassing all barriers inside the body, directly to the problem focus, to the bronchi. This allows the patient to recover faster.
Bad habits and post-COVID syndrome
Another important aspect the overcoming of the post-COVID syndrome depends on are the bad habits. We focus on patients who are addicted to nicotine. A person who smoked 20 cigarettes a day is not able to quit smoking immediately: people with a long smoking history always have a very pronounced nicotine addiction.
In this case, it is worth using other forms of nicotine delivery. It can be a nicotine patch, nicotine gum, a nicotine pad, a tobacco heating system, an electronic cigarette. But using a nicotine patch or chewing gum, a person loses the feeling of a ritual that a usual smoker always has. For any smoker, the moment itself is important when you take a cigarette in your hand, light a fire, and take the first pull. Typically, smokers combine a usual cigarette with something else, such as a cup of coffee. This ritual has a psychological dependence, that is, the dependence on the ritual is added to the physical dependence on nicotine itself.
When a person abandons the usual ritual, he or she reaches a barrier that he or she cannot overcome and breaks down as a result. It is the ritual that is one of the fastest triggers why the smoker returns to the cigarette again. And tobacco heating systems are harm reduction products. If we consider a usual cigarette as 100% harm, then tobacco heating systems are 90-95% less harmful than an ordinary cigarette. Because tobacco heating systems enable the user to get only the dose of nicotine he or she is used to
Nicotine is exactly the same aldehyde as caffeine. Naturally, it has a certain negative impact. But the worst effect of cigarettes is that the smoker inhales a lot of different tar that is released during burning. Burning is the worst thing about a cigarette. A smoker inhales about 500 different chemical elements, 60 of which are highly carcinogenic. These are the ones that lead to cancer. In fact, if we are talking about the structure of oncological morbidity, then among all the death causes, lung cancer is the first in the structure of oncological diseases.
Respiratory diseases in terms of mortality rank third. Cardiovascular diseases rank first, oncology—second, and pulmonary pathology—third. And if one looks at the number of patients who die from lung pathologies and from cancer, then this is the main cause of death. And one of the reasons that causes these diseases is smoking. Because there are products from burning there. The burning temperature at the tip of a cigarette is 850-900 degrees. Tobacco heating systems heat the stick that the user smokes, depending on the device, up to 300-350 degrees. That is, there is no burning there. Only nicotine is released. This is why products such as tobacco heating systems can be classified as harm reduction ones.
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