Long COVID: The Majority of Patients Experience These Two Symptoms

Furthermore, according to the recent Cambridge study, one-third of patients with long COVID lost their jobs as a result of their illness.

Long COVID: The Majority of Patients Experience These Two Symptoms
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According to a new study from Cambridge University, nearly two-thirds of those with long COVID-19 effects have difficulty with focus and memory.

In a study of 181 patients with long COVID, 78 percent said they had trouble concentrating, 69 percent said they had brain fog (thinking that is sluggish or “fuzzy”), 68 percent said they were forgetful, and 60 percent said they had trouble choosing the proper word in speaking. The majority of the 181 patients had been infected for at least six months prior to the start of the study.

Despite the fact that the symptoms were self-reported, the assertions were corroborated by significantly lower scores on cognitive tests.

In a university press release, co-author Dr. Muzaffer Kaser, a psychiatrist, and researcher said, “This is crucial proof that when people indicate they’re suffering cognitive challenges post-COVID, these aren’t usually the product of worry or despair.” “The consequences are observable; something alarming is taking place.”

According to a press statement from the school, half of the patients had trouble getting their symptoms treated seriously, implying that the medical profession does not treat cognitive concerns as seriously as lung problems, exhaustion, or other symptoms.

According to the research, which was published in two articles in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, more than half of the study’s participants were unable to work for long periods of time, and one-third stated their disease caused them to lose their employment.

Here’s what we know about long COVID, including symptoms, frequency, and treatment options.

What are the signs and symptoms of having a long COVID?

Long COVID is a catch-all phrase for a slew of new or recurring health issues that appear after the COVID-19 infection has subsided. They can range from minor annoyances, such as weariness, headaches, and sleeplessness, to more serious issues, such as organ damage, blood clots, brain fog, and mental health issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some COVID-19 symptoms are still present like:

  • Breathing problems or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Symptoms that worsen after engaging in physical or mental activity
  • Having trouble concentrating or thinking (brain fog)
  • Cough
  • Pain in the chest or stomach
  • Headache
  • a pounding or fast-beating heart (also known as heart palpitations)
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • A feeling of pins and needles
  • Diarrhea
  • Problems with sleep
  • Fever
  • Standing causes dizziness (lightheadedness)
  • Rash
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in sense of smell or gustatory perception
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle

The key to determining long COVID, according to Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control at the University of Wisconsin, is to watch attention to new symptoms that develop or ones that never go away, starting approximately 30 days after infection.

What are the signs and symptoms of having a long COVID?
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“The ones that we’re seeing the most are those that deal with what’s known as higher executive functions,” Safdar explained. “Concentration, memory, and the ability to do your work as well as you used to. People have a hard time describing such kinds of symptoms, but they’ve certainly seen a difference from before.”

Long COVID has been categorized as a disability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act since July of last year.

The loss of one’s sense of taste, smell, or both is one of COVID-19’s symptoms that many patients infected with previous forms experienced. Ageusia (loss of taste) and anosmia (loss of smell) can impair not only how people enjoy food or a particular aroma, but also their memories and mental health.

The causes of loss of smell and taste are unknown, according to the Mayo Clinic, although it’s most likely due to damage to the cells that support olfactory neurons.

Long COVID symptoms that are more severe throughout time

According to a study published in the Journal of American Nephrology in September 2021, there are other life-threatening symptoms connected with extended COVID, including kidney damage or illness.

According to the Mayo Clinic, damage to other organs, such as the brain, heart, and lungs, as well as blood clots and multisystem inflammatory syndrome, has been described in persons with protracted COVID.

According to January research from the CDC, children under the age of 18 who had COVID-19 for more than 30 days were more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those who did not. People who test positive for COVID-19 are also more likely to report new mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, according to a comprehensive study published in The BMJ, a peer-reviewed magazine published by the British Medical Association.

Researchers looked at data from the US Veteran Affairs national health care database and discovered that even persons with milder cases of COVID 19 were at a higher risk of psychological and cognitive issues, such as sleep difficulties and cognitive loss.

In COVID-19 patients aged 51 to 81, the Nature study discovered anatomical alterations in the brain, including an overall decrease in volume. The thickness of grey matter in the orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus, which process emotions and memory in part, was impacted. There was also tissue damage in areas “functionally related” to the smell-processing main olfactory brain.

Although researchers have yet to establish a conclusive link between these modifications and lengthy COVID, experts are advocating for more research, particularly now that more time has passed to investigate the prevalence of the disorder among persons infected with the omicron variety.

How common is long COVID?

The exact number of persons who acquire long COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, or PASC, is still unknown, with different doctors reaching varying results.

For at least two years, the CDC says it will not have data on how many Americans have long COVID.

According to some studies, 10% to 30% of all COVID survivors have residual symptoms six months after their original infection, while other studies claim that closer to half of all COVID survivors has lingering symptoms six months after their initial infection.

How common is long COVID?
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The disparities, according to Safdar, are most likely due to variances in the population studied and who was included in the study.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 415 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, while many experts believe this number is low.

A considerable number of those who have been sick have yet to feel like their old selves. Long COVID requires additional research to understand why it presents, and organizations such as the National Institutes of Health have begun attempts to learn more about the syndrome.

What causes long COVID?

We should expect years of research into the causes of post-COVID-19 symptoms due to the large number of persons who are affected. Certain groups of people appear to be more vulnerable: According to a CDC analysis released in September, Black people, women, persons over 40, and those with a prior medical condition are all more likely to get long COVID.

According to a study published in the journal Cell, type 2 diabetes appears to be a crucial influence. Other studies have found that persons who have extended COVID had lower levels of some antibodies.

Another idea suggests that minute blood clots are to blame for the syndrome: Inflammatory chemicals were stuck in these micro clots, preventing cells from acquiring adequate oxygen to execute biological activities, according to Resia Pretorius of South Africa.

“This may be central to the numerous reported debilitating symptoms,” Pretorius wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian.

It’s also plausible, if not probable, that long COVID is induced by more than one factor. COVID-19 promotes inflammation in the body, which can have a variety of consequences, as can each injured organ as a result of the sickness. There’s also evidence that the virus can hide in the body, as evidenced by T-cell activity in the immune system.

Also Read: 10 Amazing Health Benefits if You Add Ginger to Your Daily Diet

Can vaccines aid in the prevention or treatment of long COVID?

COVID-19 vaccinations lessen your chances of contracting long-term COVID by lowering your risk of becoming infected in the first place. According to an increasing body of evidence, even in breakthrough infections, persons who have had the first two shots of an mRNA vaccination like the ones given by Pfizer and Moderna have a 50 percent decreased risk of symptoms lasting a month or more.

People who received both doses were less likely than unvaccinated people to report dizziness, fatigue, persistent muscle pain, hair loss, shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell, and other symptoms in the short, medium, and long term, according to a February report by the UK Health Security Agency.

Many persons who had long COVID before immunization “reported an improvement in symptoms following vaccination, either immediately or over several weeks,” according to the meta-analysis, which included 15 global trials.

However, several people reported that their symptoms worsened following vaccination.

Can vaccines aid in the prevention or treatment of long COVID?
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Some people with long COVID report feeling substantially better after taking the vaccine, according to researchers. This could be due to an immune system “reset.” It’s also likely that the vaccine is aiding in the fight against the virus’s persistence, though this isn’t the case for everyone.

What alternative treatments are available?

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, published anecdotal data in The Journal for Nurse Practitioners on Feb. 7 that over-the-counter antihistamines may assist some people to reduce the debilitating symptoms of long COVID.

They discussed the experiences of two middle-aged women who were diagnosed with the coronavirus in 2020 and suffered a slew of symptoms months after the virus had cleaned up, including rashes, bruises, chest pain, headaches, exhaustion, and cognitive impairment.

Both women took antihistamines for unrelated allergies months after these new symptoms appeared, and their long COVID symptoms improved markedly, they noted.

When one woman stopped taking antihistamines for 72 hours, her symptoms returned, only to subside when she resumed taking the prescription. She claims to have regained 90% of her pre-COVID-19 capability after starting a daily antihistamine regimen suggested by her doctor.

After taking the drug on a regular basis, the other reported regaining 95% of her abilities before to the sickness.

Their findings back up research published in The Journal of Investigative Medicine last October in which 26 people with long COVID were given an antihistamine. Nineteen of them said their symptoms had completely vanished or had greatly diminished.

Only six of the 23 patients who were not administered the medicine reported an improvement in their condition in the control group.

Mast cells, a kind of immune cell that releases the histamine in the body, may go into overdrive in certain people with COVID-19 and contribute to long COVID, according to Dr. Lawrence Afrin, a senior consultant in hematology and oncology at the AIM Center for Personalized Medicine.

Antihistamines may be able to quiet mast cells, according to him, but additional research is needed.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided solely for educational and informational purposes and is not intended to be used as medical or health advice. If you have any questions about a medical condition or your health goals, you should always contact a physician or another trained health expert.

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