Pituitary gland failure seen in patients cured of Covid

Cases related to inflammation of thyroid also on rise, says doctor
Last Updated 29 April 2022, 06:13 IST

A distinct connection between the novel coronavirus and its impact on the endocrine system has been observed in Covid-cured patients.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the Covid infection, has been known to affect multiple organs leading to symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, difficulty in breathing, body and joint pain, and concentration and sleep issues. One effect that has not been spoken about is the impact of the virus on the endocrine glands, particularly the pituitary and thyroid.

"In the last month, we have found six cases of pituitary failure, secondary to Covid infection, which is a big number for a disease related to the pituitary gland. Secondly, we are seeing a rise in cases of thyroiditis, which refers to the inflammation of the thyroid due to viral infection. As a result, an increasing number of patients will either have overactivity or underactivity of the thyroid," said Dr Manjunath Malige, Chief Endocrinologist and Diabetologist, Aster RV Hospital.

The Covid infection is known to cause blood clots, called thrombosis, which can happen anywhere in the body. If it happens in the heart, then Covid patients get a heart attack. If it happens in the brain, then patients get a stroke. If it happens in the pituitary, there will be a death of the pituitary glands, Malige explained.

When there is a death of the pituitary glands, all the important hormones produced by the pituitary are no longer produced because the gland is dead. The other most important presentation is the adrenal dysfunction of Addison’s disease.

Covid-cured patients develop this particularly because of the effect the infection has had on the adrenal glands which produce a very important hormone called cortisol which is also known as the energy hormone of the body.

Because the adrenals are affected, the adrenal will produce less of this hormone and patients will present with a typical history of lack of energy, exhaustion, weight loss, and giddiness.

(Published 29 April 2022, 06:13 IST)

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