For those who have had COVID-19, long COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), has become a major worry. Long after their initial illness has subsided, many patients still experience a variety of symptoms and repercussions of the infection. Researchers claim to have identified a set of 12 symptoms after spending more than two years and about $1.2 billion on the project.
With more people becoming aware of long-COVID, professionals are better able to diagnose and treat individuals.
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What Does the Study Say about Long COVID?
The RECOVER initiative, which stands for Researching Covid to Enhance Recovery, was launched by the National Institutes of Health, and the study, which was published on Thursday, May 25, in the medical journal JAMA, is the first to come out of a significant effort that involved more than 13,000 adults at more than 200 study sites.
Long-COVID is defined by the World Health Organisation and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention as any symptoms, signs, or problems that persist or emerge following a Covid-19 infection.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has infected more than 100 million people in the United States as of May 2023, with doctors estimating that 6% of those infected with the virus still experience the numerous symptoms collectively known as long-COVID. Post-COVID disorders are linked to more than 200 symptoms that impact every organ system in the body.
12 Key Symptoms of Long COVID
The study has listed the following 12 key symptoms:
Fatigue: Prolonged, intense fatigue that is crippling and does not improve with rest.
Breathlessness: Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, even with little physical effort.
Brain fog: Cognitive issues, such as memory, concentration, and attention issues.
Joint and muscle pain: Constant aches and pains in the muscles and joints.
Chest Pain: Persistent discomfort or tightness in the chest that is unrelated to cardiac problems.
Headaches: Frequent headaches that are more often than not very bad.
Taste and/or smell loss: A persistent or ongoing loss of taste and/or scent.
Sleep issues: Disrupted sleep patterns, such as insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness, are sleep issues.
Digestive issues: Consistent gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, are a sign of digestive issues.
Mood disorders: Anxiety, despair, or mood fluctuations are examples of mood disorders.
Heart palpitations: A rapid or irregular heartbeat that is frequently accompanied by discomfort.
Skin rashes: Undiagnosed lesions or rashes on the skin.
Long COVID Impact
Long COVID can have a significant effect on people's lives. The limits and ongoing symptoms can have a serious impact on one's physical, mental, and emotional health.
Lower quality of life, issues with everyday tasks, difficulties returning to work, and social isolation are common for those suffering from this condition. The wide-ranging effects of Long COVID on people's general functioning and quality of life must be acknowledged and addressed.
Treatment of Long COVID
Since long-COVID is a relatively recent diagnosis, treatment strategies are currently being developed. The current emphasis is on symptom management and well-being enhancement.
A multidisciplinary strategy comprising medical experts from many specialties, such as primary care, pulmonology, cardiology, neurology, and mental health, may be used in treatment regimens. These could consist of drugs to treat particular symptoms, physical and occupational treatment, cognitive rehabilitation, psychological support, and individualized lifestyle changes.
Working together with medical professionals to create a specialized treatment plan that takes into account each patient's particular symptoms and concerns is crucial for those with long COVID.