Post COVID Syndromes - Long Haulers - COVID-19

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Post COVID Syndromes - Long Haulers - COVID-19

COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most challenging crises that humanity has faced since the end of World War Two.

And now, since we are almost two years into the pandemic, we are trying to narrow down and understand the lasting long-term effects that COVID-19 has on the human body.

We have to emphasize that, to date, we can’t draw any firm conclusion on the lasting long-term effects of the disease.

Until now, all we know is that the prolonged symptoms after COVID-19 have been called long-COVID. They have also been referred to as long-term covid, long-haul, chronic covid, or post-covid syndrome because no official term has been established yet.

So, let’s name some Long Covid signs and symptoms.

Some people have reported that they have experienced new or ongoing symptoms for weeks or months after first being infected with the coronavirus.

Further research has found that even mild cases or people with no initial symptoms can still experience this condition and develop signs later.

But what kind of new or ongoing symptoms are we talking about?

People commonly report having different combinations of the following symptoms:

Shortness of breath. Difficulty breathing.
Severe fatigue.

Post-exertional malaise, which means symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities.

Cough. Chest pain. Abdominal pain.
Brain fog or difficulty concentrating.
Heart palpitations or bounding hearts.
Headache. Diarrhea. Sleep problems.
Joint pain. Muscle pain. Fever.
Lightheadedness. Pins and needles feeling.
Rash. Change in the mood.
Irregular menstrual cycles.
Change in smell or taste. Dizziness.

How common is this condition?
Apparently, it is not uncommon to develop post covid syndrome,
In October 2020, the United Kingdom’s national institute for health research announced that 10 to 20% of people, who had COVID-19 infection, continued to have symptoms, or complications of the disease, for one month after diagnosis.

Another study in Italy suggested that 87% of people infected with COVID-19 continued to have persistent disease symptoms for 60 days after their initial symptoms began.

A different post-covid syndrome is the multiorgan system effects of COVID-19.

Sometimes after a severe infection or a severe course of a disease, the immune system gets confused and starts acting abnormally.
And that’s exactly what happens here.

Surprisingly, although COVID-19 is a disease that primarily affects the lung, some people who had a severe COVID-19 illness experienced multiorgan effects or autoimmune conditions.

The term “multiorgan” means that this condition can affect many, if not all, body systems. It can attack the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, and brain function.

We are not talking about a day or two. Those people suffered from persistent symptoms for weeks or even months after they test negative for COVID-19.

And it gets worse when autoimmune conditions happen. At this point of the disease, the immune system will attack healthy cells causing inflammation, and tissue damage in the affected parts of the body.

Severe complications of chronic covid are rare. However, some people, mostly children, experienced multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or also known as (MIS) for short.

M.I.S has been reported during or shortly after a COVID-19 infection. And unfortunately, M.I.S can lead to critical conditions, including cardiac arrest.

the heart had its special share of post-covid syndromes.
Through the effect of the virus on blood cells and blood vessels.

Doctors found out that COVID-19 makes blood cells more likely to clump up and form blood clots. Usually, large clots are known to cause heart attacks and strokes. But, surprisingly, the significant damage to the heart caused by COVID-19 began from tiny clots that block small blood vessels in the heart muscles.

Doctors also found that COVID-19 can also weaken blood vessels and cause them to leak, which contributes to problems in the liver and kidney.

Up till now, we only talked about post-covid conditions that can happen to non-hospitalized patients.

But what about hospitalized patients?
Patients who have been hospitalized do have a condition known as post-intensive care syndrome.
And it refers to health problems that begin when a person has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
These problems can remain even when a person returns home including:
Severe weakness.
Problems with thinking and judgment.
Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Post-intensive care syndrome can be tricky because you never know whether these effects are due to effects of hospitalization, the long-term effects of the virus, or a combination of both.
Add to that the complication of the pandemic itself, including the mental health effects of isolation, forced lifestyle changes, the bad economic situation, and lack of access to health care.

After all, it is all still unclear.
I mean, you must have wondered why post-covid syndromes occur? Currently, nobody knows.
Of course, some hypotheses have been formed, but much is still unknown.
However, research is still ongoing, and time may offer us the answers.

In the end, it is essential to remember that most patients who get COVID-19 infections recover quickly. Still, the potentially long-lasting problems make it even more important to avoid catching the disease. Some studies showed that about 50% of the post covid syndromes get resolved within six months of the initial infection.

So, stay safe, everyone!

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