Long Covid, a Preview
This week we will discuss Long Covid or Post-Covid.
Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems that people experience after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few days to a few weeks after infection, so at least four weeks after infection is the start of when post-COVID conditions could first be identified. Anyone who was infected can experience post-COVID conditions. Most people with post-COVID conditions experienced symptoms days after first learning they had COVID-19, but some people who later experienced post-COVID conditions did not know when they got infected.
There is no test to diagnose post-COVID conditions, and people may have a wide variety of symptoms that could come from other health problems. This can make it difficult for healthcare providers to recognize post-COVID conditions. Your healthcare provider considers a diagnosis of post-COVID conditions based on your health history, including if you had a diagnosis of COVID-19 either by a positive test or by symptoms or exposure, as well as doing a health examination.
Researchers from the UK National Institute for Health Research who reviewed the available evidence said ongoing Covid symptoms examined reports from people of all ages and backgrounds.
They said that it cannot be assumed that people who are at lower risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 are also at low risk of ongoing Covid.
Academics said that more work is needed to help those who are suffering as they said that many are "not believed" when they seek help.
Ongoing symptoms can include breathlessness, chronic fatigue, "brain fog", anxiety and stress, while others may have suffered permanent organ damage.
Some have reported "floating" symptoms whereby they suffer an illness linked to one part of the body - such as the respiratory system, the brain, cardiovascular system and heart, the kidneys, the gut, the liver or skin - which later abates only for new symptoms to arise in a different part of the body.
Such a wide range of symptoms, and different presentations of illness, mean that it is hard for doctors to diagnose, which means that it is equally difficult for patients to access the appropriate care, they added.
They also said that they did not like the term "long Covid" because it may mean that some patients who are struggling with ongoing after-effects are being missed.
Ongoing Covid may not be one illness but four different syndromes, they added.
These have been broadly categorized as: post intensive care syndrome, post viral fatigue syndrome, permanent organ damage and long term Covid syndrome. Some may suffer these simultaneously.
Academics stressed that the understanding of the effects are still at an early stage. (credits https://bit.ly/3UCYTa3)