For the past two years, experts have focused on recording the COVID-19 trends, including the number of transmissions, hospitalizations, recoveries, and deaths. And now they are exerting more effort in monitoring long COVID cases as they tend to affect patients long-term and cast more doubt on the conclusion of the worldwide health crisis.
Long COVID Through The Years
In late 2020, healthcare workers started to take notice of post-COVID syndrome as a certain number of coronavirus survivors got discharged from the hospital despite experiencing disability and certain conditions related to COVID-19. At the time, it was estimated that about 5 million patients suffered post-COVID symptoms after battling the infection.
The following year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement describing long COVID as a condition that presented symptoms of the disease even months after initial recovery. Many sufferers reported experiencing a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, concentration and memory problems, headache, joint pain, dizziness when standing, depression, and anxiety, among others.
To this day, scientists are still baffled by the underlying cause of long COVID. There have been theories about autoantibodies, cytokines, and immune cells being responsible for the lingering symptoms after the initial infection. However, there is still no solid evidence to pinpoint the culprit behind the condition. Instead, more recent studies highlighted how long COVID might put patients at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
How To Identify The Condition
Given the inconvenience and risks that come with long COVID, there is a growing concern on how to effectively deal with the syndrome and its effects, especially now that there’s been a continual increase in long COVID cases in the recent months. “There’s definitely no slowing down in the demand and the need for long Covid care. It’s continuing to increase,” Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s long COVID clinic director Dr. Jason Maley told CNBC this week.
For Maley, the lack of “knowledge and familiarity” with the condition is making it a challenge for everyone, including the medical community, to efficiently handle the situation. To help the general public determine if they have the condition, post-COVID syndrome experts have shared some tips on how to tell if you have long COVID, and they are found below.
- Do a self-check about a month after recovering from a COVID-19 infection
- Take note of certain changes in your thinking, memory, and ability to perform tasks
- Look out for common long COVID symptoms such as fatigue and overwhelming tiredness
- The condition predominantly affects young adults, with some studies saying it affects women more than men
- People who battled severe COVID-19 and have underlying conditions are also at a higher risk
Although it would be easier to spot long COVID through its symptoms, there have been cases of people suffering the condition without experiencing the symptoms. Research published in the journal Pathogens in November 2021 indicated that a small number of post-COVID syndrome patients were asymptomatic, making it hard for them to spot the condition on their own.