When COVID infection becomes a chronic disease


Long COVID-19' a reality; 75 per cent patients suffer from ...

The minimal evidence of serious impact of COVID infection on young healthy individuals has been one of the bright spots of this pandemic. Overall, only a small percentage of those infected, mostly the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions, get very sick, and an even smaller number die.

But a new piece in The Atlantic lays out mounting evidence that many younger patients don’t spring back to good health after a few weeks, as common wisdom suggests; instead, they experience debilitating long-term effects, months after infection. The profile of the average patient with “Long-COVID” is just 44 years old, and previously fit and healthy.

She (the condition is much more common in women) likely suffered a mild initial infection. But now, months later, she still faces a wide range of symptoms. Some patients have significant chronic pulmonary or cardiac function abnormalities (like Georgia State’s star freshman quarterback recruit, sidelined for the year with post-COVID myocarditis).

But others are dealing with a different, but just as debilitating, set of symptoms resembling chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

And like CFS patients, many COVID “long-haulers” find their symptoms minimized by their doctors. Early studies show that large numbers of patients may be affected: in a series of 270 non-hospitalized patients, the CDC found a full third hadn’t returned to their usual health after two weeks (as compared to just 10 percent of influenza patients).

A handful of centers have taken the first step toward better understanding “Long-COVID”, establishing dedicated clinics to study and treat the growing number of patients for whom COVID-19 is turning out to be a chronic disease, leaving a wave of people with long-term disabilities in its wake.




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