Increasingly, experts like Internal Medicine specialist in Lahore are seeing patients with lingering symptoms of covid-19, despite testing negative for the virus. These long-haulers of covid-19 feel the effects of the disease, even weeks to months after recovering. Experts do not understand the cause for this condition, now termed, ‘post-covid syndrome’. However, they think that specialized care and regular follow-up are helpful in dealing with it.
Read on to know more about this condition and how to manage it:
What are the symptoms of post-covid syndrome?
Studies identified persistence of fatigue, lack of sense of smell, change in the sense of taste and shortness of breath in patients after four to seven months of acute covid infection; scientists identified these symptoms as post-covid syndrome (PCS). Other lingering symptoms include: joint pain, brain fog, sleep issues and chest pain.
Research clinic at the University Hospital Cologne, Germany, whereby convalescent patient of covid-19 reported for investigation of immunity against reinfection, found substantial number of patients reporting the aforementioned symptoms. This caused alarm in the doctors and raised the suspicion of a possible post-covid healthcare concern.
Post-covid syndrome is still not understood well. Healthcare professionals are still learning about it. However, needless to say, the extreme fatigue of the disease along with the myriad of other symptoms is impacting the work-life, productivity and the family life of the patients. There is no guaranteed time line of the post-covid syndrome, but its suspected to last at least six months post infection.
What are the types of post-covid syndrome?
New or ongoing symptoms
Not all patients who experience post-covid syndrome had severe illness; even patients with mild COVID can experience these symptoms. Other types of post-covid syndrome only occur in people with known history of severe COVID infection. The combination of symptoms experienced by these individuals include: fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, post-exertional malaise, palpitations, diarrhea, sleep problems, rash, mood changes, light headedness and changes in the menstrual period cycle.
Multiorgan effects of COVID
People with severe COVID suffer multiorgan effects over a long time post-infection. Body systems impacted include: the heart, brain, kidney, lungs and skin. These organs are impacted due to the autoimmune reaction, whereby the body’s own immune system attacks the healthy cells.
Immediately after or sometimes during the COVID infection, there is the multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) in patients—particularly children—whereby the different body parts become inflamed.
How to manage post-covid syndrome?
The goal of therapy for management of the post-covid syndrome is to identify the underlying causative factor, improve the symptoms of the patient and help them return to activities of daily living.
For management of breathing problems, many patients of post-covid syndrome are taught breathing techniques to manage their symptoms. Patients are taught the mechanics of healthy breathing through the nose, with fewer breaths per minute to calm the nervous system and lower stress.
Improving sleep is another goal in patients of post-covid syndrome. Mental recovery is very important when it comes to dealing with a chronic disorder like PCS.
What are the long-term effects of post-covid syndrome?
Scientists are still learning about covid-19, including the post-covid syndrome and the immunity offered by the infection. Many long-term effects of this disease are still unknown and need strict monitoring of the patients after infection to find the trajectory of the post-infection illness. Many medical centers around the world, and the university hospitals are opening clinics for the longitudinal care of covid patients.
The potential long lasting effects of covid-19 is another reason to strictly follow the precautions against covid and follow the advice of healthcare professionals like Internal Medicine Specialist in Karachi.