You’ve heard about the rise in COVID deaths and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant, but what you may have missed is that there is one more disease that is not counted: it is called Lung COVID, or PASC, a syndrome that can last more than a year, perhaps a lifetime, even after a mild COVID infection. A groundbreaking new study in The Lancet, published Thursday, identified “one-year results” in people who still had problems. “Our data suggest that a full 1-year recovery is not possible for some patients, who will take longer to reach their pre-COVID-19 baseline health status,” the authors say. Read on for 7 common signs of lasting COVID danger – and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Certain Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
You may feel severe fatigue
Life-destroying fatigue is the most commonly reported symptom among ‘tall hikers’ or people with Lung COVID. “The cause and pathogenesis of fatigue and muscle weakness after COVID-19 are unclear, but based on previous evidence in SARS, impairment of lung diffusion capacity, and some extrapulmonary causes, including viral-induced myositis at first presentation, cytokine disruption, muscle breakdown and deconditioning, or myopathy from corticosteroids, or a combination of these factors, could have contributed to the condition,” the study authors suggest.
You may have trouble moving or “post-exertional” malaise
Since Lung COVID comes with aches and pains, it’s no surprise that you may have difficulty with mobility. What’s harder for yourself to determine, though, is why you might be having a “post-exertional malaise.” This is when your body reacts to any kind of exertion – it could be exercise, it could be household chores – with a feeling of illness. “We saw some abnormalities in some white blood cells called monocytes,” he said dr. Bruce Patterson, a researcher on Lung COVID. “We looked further and we found that one protein in monocytes, 15 months after infection, with no virus. There is no RNA, there is no replication competence … Yet the cells carried a COVID protein throughout the body and caused inflammation … The cells are mobilized through exercise, and for a person, long hikers have exercise intolerance.”
You may have a severe headache or migraine
dr. Patterson has described Lung COVID as a vascular problem for many, and when you think about where your blood vessels are – basically everywhere! – can you imagine why people complain about aches and pains. A common complaint is about crushing headaches or migraines; some of these have even been found to alter brain chemistry and may be linked to anxiety and depression.
You may have trouble breathing
“The delta variant is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previously circulating strains,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to reporters during a briefing. “It’s one of the most contagious respiratory viruses that we know of, and that I’ve seen in my 20-year career.” No wonder it can cause serious damage to your lungs. Some of this damage can last longer than a year.
You may have anxiety or depression
You may feel anxious after reading this story. But there’s also a neurological reason why many long-distance runners feel anxious or depressed. In addition to receiving what can be a diagnosis for a chronic illness that can last a lifetime, their bodies are in “flight or flight” mode, battling a real or perceived virus (doctors don’t know yet). “The chronic or late-onset psychological symptoms after COVID-19 may be caused by a direct effect of virus infection and may be explained by several hypotheses, including an aberrant immune response, immune system hyperactivation, or autoimmunity. In addition, indirect effects, including decreased social contact, loneliness, incomplete recovery of physical health and loss of work, may influence psychiatric symptoms,” the study authors say.
You may have cardiovascular problems
“COVID-19 survivors are at increased risk for psychiatric outcomes and new respiratory and cardiovascular diseases during recovery,” say the study authors. COVID can be very hard on the heart. “There are several reasons for this. The cells in the heart have angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) receptors where the coronavirus attaches itself before entering the cells. Heart damage may also be due to high levels of inflammation found in the body’s immune system fights the virus, the inflammatory process can damage some healthy tissues, including the heart,” says Johns Hopkins.
You can have more than 200 symptoms
More than 200 long-term COVID symptoms have been reported, from fainting to difficulty sleeping to hair loss. Ask yourself if your body is “not feeling well” after your COVID infection – or possible infection. Does it feel like something has systematically changed? If so, tell a medical professional. There is no long-term COVID treatment, but doctors can try to treat your symptoms. Even better is to do everything you can to never get COVID. Get vaccinated and do not visit any of these to protect your life and that of others 35 places you are most likely to get COVID.