More than a year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the world is making progress, thanks to vaccines, treatments, and life-saving hospital care, but why are some patients still living with symptoms months after they are said to have recovered from the deadly virus?
As often as the coronavirus virus may kill infected patients or remain benign with patients recovering quickly, there's another group of sufferers; an increasing number of whom recovering from the disease is not the end of their ordeal; instead, it's just the beginning! They're not regaining normal health, and tasks as simple as walking up a stair remain a struggle. This category of patients is called the long haul sufferers
It’s already becoming a great worry for scientists that their so-called COVID long-haul victims might even bear the scars of the pandemic for the rest of their lives, dealing with chronic lingering conditions of tiredness and fatigue syndrome.
Long Haul Coronavirus Symptoms As A Current Public Health Reality
While the virus hits older sufferers hardest, the long-term effects don't discriminate. Many young and previously fit sufferers now fear feeling the after effect of the virus infection for life.
Around the world, the debilitating after-effects of this insidious disease are growing in profile, thanks to celebrity sufferers like actress Alyssa Milano
in her testament, "Recovering from COVID virus isn't about all a post-recovery fatigue syndrome became my reality."
Australian doctors, presently leading the international search to answer questions about how the virus’ patients can experience less prolonged consequences of the coronavirus infection, are yet to find their answers. Instead, they are left to worry about symptoms manifestation of scarring lung capacity and functional impairment in pulmonary organs even after patients recover from coronavirus and how to distinguish symptoms from a characteristics chronic fatigue syndrome also caused by virus infection.
The popular Joe Thanos is an old-school political lobbyist that’s a close call when discussing post-COVID syndrome
. In his statement, “recovering from CORONAVIRUS after several days of breathing difficulty did not put an end to my ordeal. I often get knocked out of the day with only a short walk."
Joe Thanos is now one of the more than 100 recovering patients who are part of the world-leading study at St. Vincent's hospital
in Sydney into the virus's long-term effects.
Janine Copy was fresh from running her first-ever ultra marathon when she contracted COVID. Although then, at 37, she was young and fit and didn't need any hospitalization before being certified to have recovered from coronavirus infection, what she thought would be a speedy path to recovery has ended up becoming a marathon
in its own right. There is yet a long list of patients with different stories to justify another phase to deal with following recovery from the virus.
COVID-19 'Long-Haul' Symptoms And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
While the post-COVID lingering illness was predictable for long COVID sufferers, lingering chronic fatigue syndrome
is now a well-searched side effect of long COVID
in recent findings.
reveals that patients who recover from the coronavirus infection often have a characteristic fatigue syndrome. They experience muscle weakness and overall reduced quality of life, characterized by brain fog and trouble remembering things, which are also symptoms of viral chronic fatigue syndrome. But is chronic fatigue syndrome a new reality for COVID patients?
Although, over 100 years of scientific literature has it that chronic fatigue syndrome is a side effect of a different virus infection. It is clear that both disease conditions share
common symptoms, and many times people experiencing post-recovery symptoms from acute COVID-19 infection meet the criterion for chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS
However, how do scientists spot a difference?
A survey on COVID-19 "long-haulers" published
in the US agrees that fatigue was the most common symptom report from patients from both disease conditions. During the survey, 45 percent of patients with Post recovery symptoms or chronic fatigue syndromes have required to reduce work schedule due to the sickness, and 22 percent of the patients could not work again due to infection from the viruses. With this, both infections are fairly difficult to distinguish.
To be certain, Komaroof of the Boston's Brigham and women's hospital recount some possible differences. In his finding, the "Long COVID" patients often experience short breath or breathlessness and anosmia
, which aren't a common symptom of ME/CFS.
Both disease conditions have recently been researched by scientists across the globe due to the overlap in symptoms leaving scientists suspicious. However, this could be great news for patients living with lingering chronic fatigue syndrome after several years of cluelessness
on the severe condition.
Why The Persistent Symptoms In Long-Haulers?
The coronavirus isn't still alive and active in people with ongoing symptoms, but why do sufferers still battle with symptoms for months? Patients discharged from CORONAVIRUS isolation centers still have persistent symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, chest pain, shortness of breath, racing heart, GI symptoms, anxiety, and depression. Here are some likely suspects.
1. Excess Inflammation
Excess inflammation caused by CORONAVIRUS infection is usually the leading cause of the ordeal faced by most long CORONAVIRUS haulers. Christian Sandrock
of the UC Davis Health stated that 60 percent of patients who had recently recovered from COVID infection had an ongoing heart inflammation
which will cause persistent symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and elevated heart rate. This is usually one of the causes of the post-recovery symptom experience in long COVID circumstances. The symptoms affect patients not regarding their present condition and most often interfere with the expectation following their recovery from COVID infection.
2. An Auto-Immune Response
While excessive inflammation may be the leading cause of the ordeal experienced by long-haul sufferers, the auto-immune response can be another big concern. Dr. Vanichkachorn of Yale University recently stated
that patients after recovering from CORONAVIRUS infection already embody many autoantibodies that can attack healthy tissues compared with people with no previous COVID infection. A common symptom of auto-immune response experienced by a long hauler includes lupus
and rheumatoid arthritis
3. Nervous Dysfunction
Another very important factor to consider is dysautonomia. This is referred to as dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. The condition affects blood flow to the brain, which causes fatigue, headache, brain fog, and exercise intolerance among patients who have recovered from the virus by laboratory antibody checks.
4. Blood Clots and Blood Vessel Damage
The presence of tiny blood clots and damage to blood vessels within the blood circulatory system often plays a major role in the ordeal experienced by long haul sufferers. The presence of high protein in the blood that often comes with COVID infection persists in the blood circulatory system after the patient's recovery. Dr. Sandrock
confirms that patients experiencing an after-COVID recovery syndrome feel better when placed on medication to prevent clotting.
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