Mexican singer Yuri revealed during an interview on the program Hoy on the Mexican network Televisa that she was diagnosed with dysautonomia after having Covid-19. The condition, which is rare and increases heart rate, has been seen in several patients with the so-called “Long Covid”, a more extensive and long-lasting form of the disease.
“Some damage to the nervous system (…) came back three weeks ago, I was very sick. Thank God I was able to detect it in time, I went to a neurologist, two neurologists, who detected that I have dysautonomia, which is not fatal, but it is very difficult”, said the artist.
What is dysautonomy?
Dysautonomy is a dysfunction of the nerves that affects heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, sweating, etc. In short, it is the malfunction of the autonomic nervous system, also called ANS. This means that it affects body functions that are automatic, over which we have no control.
When a person has ANS failures, dysautonomia occurs, where the patient presents symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, tachycardia or brachycardia (when the heart works slower), frankness, among others.
The disease is not fatal, varies in severity and can appear at any age. It manifests itself both alone – primary – and associated with other diseases such as Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis and, as noted by doctors, now also with Covid-19, which has persistent fatigue as its main symptom.
Dysautonomy and long Covid
According to BBC News, the reason for the development of the so-called “Long Covid” remains a mystery. Some theories say that the virus may remain hidden in the body’s reservoirs far from the immune system and thus continue to manifest itself.
Some consider that, even in the case of dysautonomia, long Covid could be an autoimmune response of the body to the viral infection, which would explain the long symptoms and other problems that arise.
For some scientists at the University of Copenhagen, in some patients with long Covid, the body could end up attacking its own vascular structures. Other professionals are betting that Covid has the ability to reactivate the virus that has been dormant in the body for years or even decades, causing chronic problems.
Is there a cure for dysautonomy?
Unfortunately not. However, there are drug treatments, lifestyle changes, diet etc. that can help circumvent the underlying symptoms of the disease.
Mount Sinai Hospital cardiologist Amy Kontorovich, a specialist in dysautonomia, has developed a new physical therapy program known as Autonomic Conditioning Therapy (ACT). The treatment has been shown to be effective in reducing long Covid symptoms such as fatigue. The system has been adopted by 53 physical therapy centers in New York.
The technique is inspired by another similar reconditioning program and works with exercise phases, not allowing the patient to exceed 85% of their maximum heart rate.
“It seems to program the autonomic nervous system to reconnect things,” the doctor explained to the BBC.
“One of the interesting trends I’ve seen in many of the Long Covid patients I’ve treated is that they were previously very active and, during the period of their acute illness, were lying in bed or mostly sedentary. This period of inactivity may be a contributing factor to the pattern of post-covid dysautonomy, as we know this can happen with deconditioning.”
However, not all patients with dysautonomia are able to complete the activities. But, little by little, the results have proved beneficial for them. The specialist also points out that many of the patients with long Covid start to feel better only with time and, as the virus is only a short time among us, it is not yet known for sure how long the chronic symptoms can last.
Main Image Credit: Moonflies Photo/iStock
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