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Long Covid: A New Health Concern After Covid-19 Recovery

- 5 min read
written by Shield Connect

The continuous lasting effects of COVID-19 after initial illness are now being termed as long-COVID, also known as Post COVID-19 Syndrome (PCS).

The continuous lasting effects of COVID-19 after initial illness are now being termed as long-COVID, also known as Post COVID-19 Syndrome (PCS). It is also termed as “post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection” (PASC). In common lay term, the phrase “long-haulers” is also used.

It is the presence and persistence of health issues after recovery from acute COVID-19. These symptoms continue for more than 12 weeks after COVID-19 infection. Common symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, myalgia, weakness, headache, cognitive blunting etc. Risk of PCS is more likely in those with more than 5 symptoms during acute COVID-19 and more in women, elderly, in obese individuals and in patients with diabetes.

Persistent olfactory dysfunction (OD) is the second most common symptom of post coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) second only to dyspnoea in which post-COVID-19 muscle weakness is contributing to fatigue.  This symptom is also known as Post Viral Olfactory Disorders(PVOD). SARS-CoV-2 is hypothesized to cause OD by all three known ways: conductive dysfunction, by preventing odorant from reaching neuroepithelium; sensorineural dysfunction, by damage/loss of olfactory neuroepithelium or olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs); and central dysfunction, by damage or loss of olfactory processing pathways in the CNS. Olfactory dysfunction warrants attention and intervention if it persists after 20 days of symptom onset. Olfactory training is the mainstay of treatment and rehabilitation at present.1,2

It was also found that there was a relation between post COVID-19 syndrome and diabetes mellitus as shown in below figure along with corrective measures:2  Long Covid - A new health concern after Covid-19 recovery

Even it has been observed in the children with persistent symptoms after acute COVID infection such as headache, fatigue, and heart palpitations as per Ludvigsson et al. 3

A community-based COVERSCAN clinical trial (NCT04369807)showed that in individuals at low risk of mortality from COVID-19 mortality but with long COVID symptoms, 70% had impairment in one or more organs four months later. 4Long COVID was more common in older individuals, patients with pre-existing conditions, and patients who had required hospital admission for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection according to Daugherty et.al. 5

Our understanding of PCS is improving but more research is needed.

References:

1. Kapoor, D., Verma, N., Gupta, N. et al. Post Viral Olfactory Dysfunction After SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Anticipated Post-pandemic Clinical Challenge. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12070-021-02730-6

2. A.V. Raveendran, Anoop Misra, Post COVID-19 Syndrome (“Long COVID”) and Diabetes: Challenges in Diagnosis and Management, Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews, Volume 15, Issue 5,2021, 102235, ISSN 1871-4021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsx.2021.102235

3. Ludvigsson JF. Case report and systematic review suggest that children may experience similar long-term effects to adults after clinical COVID-19. Acta Paediatr. 2021; 110:914–921. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.15673

4. Parums DV. Editorial: Long COVID, or Post-COVID Syndrome, and the Global Impact on Health Care. Med Sci Monit. 2021;27:e933446. Published 2021 Ju.  doi : 10.12659/MSM.933446. 

5. Daugherty SE, Guo Y, Heath K, et al. Risk of clinical sequelae after the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection: retrospective cohort study. BMJ. 2021;373: n1098.

Pic Credit : Treating Patients with Long Covid image by Americal Psychological Association URL:*https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/07/treating-long-covid.

Dr Alaka Godbole Dr Alaka Godbole MD, PGDMLS

Consultant Gynaecologist,
Akshay Nursing Home, Jupiter Hospital, Currae Hospital and KMF Hospital (Mumbai).

 

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