What Is Long COVID and Do I Have It?

What Is Long COVID and Do I Have It?

On May 11, 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19 was no longer a public health emergency. But even though it is no longer considered an international concern, the coronavirus is still a medical and health threat to many.

The ending of the COVID global health emergency simply means the governmental response to the pandemic has scaled down, and the threat of the virus is far less than it has been in the last three years. But unfortunately, many of us have already suffered from the virus, if not multiple times, at least once. And 28 percent of the roughly 127 million Americans who have had COVID-19 are still experiencing symptoms, which has been termed as having long COVID.

What is Long COVID?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) broadly defines long COVID as signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue or develop after an initial infection. These post-infection symptoms can last for months or even years after a person contracts the virus.

A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the medical journal JAMA shed some light on the 12 most common symptoms associated with long COVID.

“This study is an important step toward defining long COVID beyond any one individual symptom,” said study author Dr. Leora Horwitz, director of the Center for Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Science and co-principal investigator for the RECOVER Clinical Science Core at NYU Langone Health.

Categories and Symptoms of Long COVID

By identifying the top symptoms associated with long COVID, researchers and doctors are better able to come up with safe and effective treatment options. Symptoms include:

  • post-exertional malaise (debilitating fatigue that gets worse after physical or mental activity)
  • fatigue
  • brain fog
  • dizziness
  • gastrointestinal symptoms
  • heart palpitations
  • issues with sexual desire or capacity
  • loss of smell or taste
  • thirst
  • chronic cough
  • chest pain
  • abnormal movements

In addition, most long COVID symptoms can be grouped into one of four categories:

  • Type 1: Heart, kidney, and circulatory problems
  • Type 2: Lung conditions, sleep disorders, and anxiety
  • Type 3: Muscle pain, connective tissue disorders, and nervous system disorders
  • Type 4: Digestive and respiratory problems

Over time, symptoms can change and even worsen. That’s why it’s important to address your symptoms as soon as possible. If you believe you’re experiencing long COVID, you should discuss your symptoms with your provider. Every day more and more research is being conducted to help us learn more about this virus and its lingering effects. Your provider can work with you to develop a treatment plan that will help manage or mitigate your symptoms. Call a VIPcare provider today. 866-926-3831

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