What are the Symptoms of Long COVID?

Symptoms of Long COVID

Long COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), is a condition where individuals experience persistent symptoms and complications following a COVID-19 infection. While most people recover from COVID-19 within a few weeks, many individuals continue to experience symptoms for months. These symptoms can vary widely and affect multiple organ systems, including the respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, and musculoskeletal systems.

While the exact number is difficult to determine, studies suggest that many COVID-19 survivors experience prolonged symptoms. A study in the United States found that approximately 30% of individuals reported symptoms lasting for several months. Lancet reports that as many as 65 million people globally have Long COVID.

What Causes Long COVID?

The exact causes of Long COVID are still being studied, but several factors are believed to have contributed to its development. According to research, The Lancet says the hypotheses for the root causes of long COVID include viral persistence (infectious virus, viral RNA, or viral proteins), autoimmunity triggered by the infection, reactivation of latent viruses, and inflammation that leads to tissue dysfunction and damage.

Viral persistence for long COVID refers to the continued presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the body beyond the acute phase of the infection. This phenomenon has been observed in a subset of individuals who experience prolonged symptoms and complications even after the initial recovery from COVID-19. Studies show that viral persistence can occur in various organs, including the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. It can contribute to the continuation of symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and respiratory issues.

One possible explanation for viral persistence is the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to establish reservoirs in specific tissues. These reservoirs may be a constant source of viral replication, leading to ongoing inflammation and tissue damage. The virus may also evade the immune response by hiding in immune-privileged sites or modulating the host immune system.

The immune response to the initial COVID-19 infection is also thought to play a role in Long COVID. It is believed that in some individuals, the immune system continues to overreact even after the virus has been cleared. This ongoing immune response can lead to chronic inflammation and damage to various organs and tissues, resulting in the persistent symptoms experienced in long-term COVID-19.

The virus is also known to affect multiple organ systems, including the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems, which can result in long-term complications and symptoms that persist even after the acute phase of the illness has resolved. Studies show inflammatory responses to the virus in one organ can cause lasting alterations in distant tissues and organs. For instance, an animal study showed that even mild lung-restricted COVID-19 resulted in prolonged changes in the central nervous system for up to seven weeks after infection.

Lastly, age, sex, and pre-existing health conditions may also influence the development of Long COVID. Older individuals and those with underlying health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, are more likely to experience prolonged symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Long COVID?

Overall, Long-term COVID is a complex and challenging condition, and the severity and duration of symptoms vary in one’s health and quality of life, including:

  1. Organ and tissue damage
  2. Persistent fatigue
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Heart palpitations
  5. Chest pain
  6. Brain fog
  7. Joint pain
  8. Muscle weakness
  9. Headaches
  10. Dizziness
  11. Sleep disturbances
  12. Anxiety and mood changes
  13. Loss of taste and smell

Long COVID is a complex and challenging condition that can significantly impact the quality of life of those affected. As researchers better understand the exact causes of Long COVID, people need solutions to help them restore their health. The physicians at Restoration Healthcare are experienced in addressing the symptoms and damage caused by Long COVID.

If you live in Orange County or Los Angeles and are experiencing Long COVID symptoms and are looking for integrative medicine support, please contact us at (949) 535-2322 with our clinic. Learn more about becoming a new patient here.