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Woman discusses long-term health effects after COVID

A certified nurse practitioner says edema can result from COVID and has the ability to lead to...
A certified nurse practitioner says edema can result from COVID and has the ability to lead to congestive heart failure.(MARLEE PINCHOK/WSAZ)
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT
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GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) - In efforts to prevent her legs from turning into dough, as she refers to it, Sarah Cade has been taking a pill each day for a year now.

“If I forget even one day, just from my ankle up, I could make little marks in it and leave little dents in my leg,” Cade said.

“Sarah had no problems with edema prior to COVID, and that all came about immediately after COVID is when she started developing these problems,” said Sherry Russell, who is Cade’s health care provider at Rio Family Healthcare.

Cade was in the hospital for a week with COVID last year. She says she was put on high flow oxygen, due to heavy breathing complications.

“It scared me,” Cade said.

Edema is a medical condition that involves swelling that usually forms in areas like your legs or feet when the heart’s not pumping effectively.

It’s a lingering condition Russell says can result from COVID and has the ability to lead to congestive heart failure.

“Typically with COVID, particularly with her, with the edema, it would be with the heart that’s causing circulatory issues and that’s usually where that comes from,” Russell said.

“I kind of feel like it’s a death sentence in the long run,” Cade said.

Although she feels a bit hopeless at the lingering effects, it has also changed her perspective on life.

“I know I cannot survive another round of COVID like what I had before,” Cade said.

Getting the vaccine gives her comfort, knowing what she went through in the hospital is something she would never want to happen again.

Russell, who is a certified nurse practitioner, says there is no primary age group that these long-term effects target.

However, she says studies show that college athletes are at a risk for post-COVID cardiac enlargement, which basically means the virus makes the heart inflamed.

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