Understanding Long COVID has been a difficult process. We have learned about it only as the pandemic has progressed and people have had some time since their acute illness. Many who have been infected with COVID-19 have lingering problems after the infection has resolved. Some experience serious difficulties for long periods of time in what is now known as Long COVID. Multiple systems in the body can be impacted by Long COVID, and consequently, multiple areas of life as well.
The CDC has reported: Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Even people who did not have symptoms when they were infected can have post-COVID conditions. These conditions can have different types and combinations of health problems for different lengths of time… experiencing different combinations of the following symptoms:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
- Loss of smell or taste
- Dizziness on standing
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Joint or muscle pain
- Depression or anxiety
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities…
Multiorgan effects can affect most, if not all, body systems including heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain functions. Multiorgan effects can also include conditions that occur after COVID-19, like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) and autoimmune conditions. MIS is a condition where different body parts can become swollen. Autoimmune conditions happen when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing painful swelling in the affected parts of the body… It is unknown how long multiorgan system effects might last and whether the effects could lead to chronic health conditions.*
Research is ongoing, with significant progress in understanding the active illness in the short time we have dealt with COVID-19. Some say that by necessity, this pandemic response has been like building an airplane while already flying. Now clinicians are in similar circumstances facing Long COVID, yet significant progress is being made. If you are suffering from a post-COVID condition or think you may be, consider a consultation with us.