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Perhaps the most daunting part about COVID-19 is that people who were infected with the virus recovered within a couple of days to two weeks but have to live with the lingering effects of the symptoms which are referred to as long COVID for the rest of their lives. The ongoing symptoms have a number of names aside from long-COVID. Some refer to it as post-COVID complications, long-haul COVID or even post-COVID-19 syndrome.
In this article, we tell you what post-COVID-19 syndrome is, what are some of its common symptoms and what makes you prone to developing long-term COVID.
Post-COVID-19 Syndrome: Explained
A person with mild COVID-19 symptoms or with a low CT value can stay ill for about two weeks. But some people who can experience continuing health issues even after they have recuperated are now testing negative.
According to the World Health Organisation, the post-COVID-19 condition is defined as coronavirus symptoms that continue or return three months after a person has recovered from COVID-19. Such symptoms can include cognitive hindrances, shortness of breath and chronic fatigue. Although the symptoms keep coming and going from time to time, they cause inconveniences to a person’s everyday functioning and well-being.
Following are some common yet debilitating health issues faced by people as part of the post-COVID-19 syndrome:
1. Heart Problems
As per studies conducted, Sars-Cov-2 infection has left around 60% of people with persistent heart conditions such as inflammation of the heart muscle. Heart inflammation causes symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat. Symptoms of heart inflammation were noticed in patients with very mild COVID-19 infections with no history whatsoever of medical issues prior to falling sick.
2. Breathing Trouble
Whether someone has suffered a mild COVID-19 infection or a severe one, anyone and everyone who has recovered from the infection has experienced long issues with shortness of breath. Widespread studies have revealed that COVID-19 has left permanent or long-term scarring within the lungs. Experts have stated time and again that it will take months and even years for a person to regain full lung capacity to pre-COVID 19 levels. Breathing exercises, respiratory therapy along with exercise that strengthens lung capacity such as swimming can help over time.
3. Loss of Taste and Smell
Loss of taste and smell has been common and much talked about symptom of COVID-19. It has been to a great extent a deal-breaker to differentiate between Sars-CoV-2 infection or a regular cold and flu. Although most people have regained their sense of taste and smell once they have recovered, there is a fraction of the population who have permanently or for the near future lost their sense completely. Losing one’s sense of taste and smell isn’t life-threatening but over time sensory deprivation can be quite frustrating and can lead to depression, anxiety and a loss of appetite.
4. Kidney Damage
If at the time of your COVID-19 infection, you were suffering from Kidney disorders or due to the infection your kidney was damaged there is a high probability that you can experience long-term kidney diseases and might even have to undergo dialysis.
5. Cognitive and Neurological Issues
Immediately after COVID-19, most people have experienced symptoms of fatigue, chronic headache, dizziness and brain fog which have also taken a toll on their cognitive abilities. As a result of brain fog, people have reported trouble with concentration, reasoning, memory and their ability to speak clearly and articulately. This can be a major hindrance to performance and productivity at school/college/workplace and in general life.
What Causes post-COVID complications?
Experts have been unable to establish a direct link between COVID-19 infection and their long-standing symptoms. But the majority are in agreement that in most cases those with prior health conditions or with fragile immunity were more prone to living with long-COVID symptoms.
The best way to tackle long-COVID symptoms is to track your health issues, visit a doctor and undergo a few lab tests to check for your blood count and liver functioning. Eat healthily, concentrate on proteins that build muscles, and probiotics that care for gut health and exercise daily to rebuild endurance from scratch.