The Effects Of Long COVID Are Just Being Uncovered - Some Symptoms Are Shocking

By Pamela Glass | Monday, 01 August 2022 16:45
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 13 adults — 7.5% ─ have symptoms of COVID-19 that last at least three months after infection. Earlier reports uncovered that one in five COVID-19 survivors between the ages of 18 and 64, and one in four survivors aged 65 and older, have a continuous health condition associated with their previous battle with the virus.

According to WebMD, these people face long COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, or even chronic COVID. These general terms represent the extent of persisting health problems carried on by COVID-19. The laundry list of post-COVID symptoms continues to grow, including hair loss and sexual dysfunction, fatigue, brain fog, and shortness of breath.

There is no way to test for long COVID, so healthcare experts rely on common symptoms that seem to linger post-infection.

“It’s not unusual to see some residual shortness of breath or heart palpitations, especially if you are exerting yourself,” said Brittany Baloun, a certified nurse practitioner at the Cleveland Clinic. “The acute phase of COVID can last up to 14 days. But if it’s been 30 days since you came down with the virus, and your symptoms are still there and not improving, it indicates some level of long COVID.”

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More than 200 symptoms have been linked to long COVID, but the most constant complaint is fatigue.

“We often hear that patients can’t fold the laundry or take a short walk with their dog without feeling exhausted,” Baloun says.

Other known symptoms include those concerning the heart and lungs. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, one study revealed that 60% of people who recovered from COVID-19 had signs of ongoing heart inflammation, which could lead to the common symptoms of shortness of breath, palpitations and rapid heartbeat. This inflammation appeared even in those with mild cases of COVID-19 who had no medical issues before they got sick.

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COVID-19’s bad cases can induce scars or other enduring damage to the lungs, but even mild infections can trigger persistent shortness of breath. Experts say it could take months for a person’s lung function to return to pre-COVID-19 levels.

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An irritating long-term issue with COVID-19 is loss of taste and smell. While not life-threatening, this can lead to loss of hunger, anxiety, and depression. Some studies say there is a 60% to 80% chance that these senses will return within a year.

Dr. Arun Venkatesan, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins, says, “Some individuals develop medium to long-term symptoms following COVID infection, including brain fog, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness. The cause of these symptoms is unclear, but it is an active area of investigation.”

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A recent study of 2.4 million health records found that hair loss and reduced libido and ejaculation maybe three of the previously unrecognized symptoms of long COVID, says Forbes. The new research published Monday in Nature Medicine developed the symptoms of long COVID, including hair loss and sexual dysfunction.

Researchers also stressed that 500,000 patients with a recorded COVID-19 infection, who were not hospitalized, reported suffering 62 symptoms 12 weeks or longer after infection, compared to those who didn’t contract the infection.

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It’s notable by now that long COVID can cause various problems, says Baloun, and if they last for more than a month, it’s time to see your doctor to test for other possible causes, such as thyroid disorder or vitamin deficiency.

“These tests can’t provide definitive answers, but they can help provide clues as to what’s causing symptoms and whether they are related to long COVID,” she says. Doctors can also take a comprehensive medical history to try and pinpoint the cause of lingering symptoms.

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