Four Syndromes of Long COVID

Four Syndromes of Long COVID
Four Syndromes of Long COVID
Months after the pandemic began, medical experts observed that some patients with milder symptoms of the coronavirus had a “long COVID” or were referred to as “long-distance drivers.” These patients had symptoms that lasted for weeks to months.

Over time, researchers began to understand more about how the virus affects the immune system, how underlying diseases cause severe infections, and how others remain asymptomatic. Several studies have found that nearly 80% of those who tested positive for the virus did not infect others, making nearly 19% of patients termed “super transmitters.”

Since it was not even a full year since the coronavirus reached the world and infected millions, the long-term effects of the virus have yet to be discovered. A new report from the National Institute for Health Research predicts that of 95,000 patients across England, 45% may need ongoing support after they are discharged. Perhaps as many as 50% of hospital patients would also need rehabilitation services.

(Photo: Photo by John Moore / Getty Images)

So far, the report identified four syndromes of long-term COVID:

Permanent organ damage

Several studies have found that the coronavirus not only damages the airways, but also affects other organs such as the heart, kidneys and intestines. The most common cardiovascular complication associated with Covid-19 was acute myocardial injury.

Up to 12% of patients with heart damage suffered from heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias. Arrhythmia is a condition in which the heart beats abnormally – the rhythm is either too fast, too slow, or irregular. Almost a third of SARS and MERS survivors continue to experience symptoms of fibrotic lung disease and other long-term complications in various organs.

Asymptomatic patients are also not excluded from signs of lung damage. Researchers at the Scripps Translational Research Institute found “base lens opacities” or areas of cloudy appearance on multiple heart and lung x-rays of asymptomatic patients.

Post-Intensive Syndrome

PICS is the combination of health problems that persist after a serious illness, especially mental health problems. The coronavirus has resulted in dramatic increases in anxiety and depression in people with and without the virus, particularly due to global lockdown and long-term isolation.

The NIHR wrote the importance of “recognizing mental health problems as both a possible consequence of living with Covid19 and a possible consequence of persistent physical symptoms”.

Also read: 87% of recovered COVID-19 patients still have an ongoing symptom

Post-viral fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME / CFS) can affect thousands of long-distance drivers. Symptoms include difficulty recovering from exercise, impaired memory and being easily tired from physical activity.

Lee Bowen, an opera singer who tested positive in February, was relatively fit before falling ill. Now he suffers from “crippling fatigue”, exhaustion, brain fog and struggles with conversations and online meetings.

Persistent Covid-19 symptoms

Other long distance riders have a combination of symptoms that persist long after a virus test positive. A July study reported that nearly 90% of recovered patients have at least one persistent system. 32% of the patients had two persistent symptoms and 55% had three or more persistent symptoms. Less than 13% of the recovered patients had no persistent symptoms.

Many long-distance riders shared the importance of support and availability of treatment. Some patients have sought help from support groups on , online counseling or rehabilitation centers.

Also read: The athlete shares what it’s like to be sick with COVID-19 for three months

For more news and information on coronavirus, see Science Times.

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