Studies that have been carried out since the beginning of the pandemic already point out that there are more than 50 symptoms potentially associated with long covid or post-covid syndrome. Patients who had the disease at more severe levels are the ones most likely to have symptoms and sequelae, however, even when the infection is mild or asymptomatic, it is possible to leave marks.
According to one review of studies regarding the ‘long covid‘, more than 50 distinct symptoms reported post-covid-19 infection have already been identified, with the most common being fatigue and breathing difficulties, followed by disturbances of smell and taste, headache, chest pain, mental fog and memory loss, as well as sleep disturbances. The study points out that long-term covid is likely to have a substantial impact on public health. For now, the evidence is still mixed and incomplete.
Check out the list of 30 of the reported post-covid symptoms
|Changes in the menstrual cycle|
|Arrhythmias and heart palpitations|
|Muscle and joint pain|
|Urinary and fecal incontinence|
|loss of appetite|
|loss of smell|
|loss of taste|
|Loss of hair|
Sequelae after hospitalization
Photographer Arnaldo Muniz is one of those people who, even after curing from covid, still remains treating the sequelae of the disease. He caught covid working in July 2021. The photographer spent 40 days hospitalized, 22 of which were intubated. He had compromised lungs, pressure problems and bacterial infection. Among the sequelae he has presented so far is muscle fragility, as he lost muscle mass due to hospitalization, difficulty in moving his right hand, which still suffers from pain and tingling, and brachial plexus injury.
“When I extubated, it was August 6, when I have the first memory of waking up. I woke up without walking and without movement of my arms. I left the hospital starting to plant my foot on the floor to walk again. After a month and a half I was almost fully regaining movement in my right hand. Today, thank God, it is 85% resolved, only the thumb and index finger have a little mobility problem and are less sensitive, recalls Arnaldo”.
“I always took great care of myself, especially because my mother lives with me, a 78-year-old lady, and she has high blood pressure. I’ve always tried to protect myself, so that if I caught it, I wouldn’t pass it on to her. But it was really working that I got it and she ended up getting it, unfortunately. But what I feared would happen to her, happened to me. She only had a mild flu and she already had two shots of vaccine. When I was diagnosed, there was a week left to open the vaccination for my age and, even because of that, I believe it hit me so hard the way it was ”, says the photographer.
Pulmonologist explains how long covid works
On the subject, the Mediamax newspaper talked to pulmonologist Ronaldo Perches Queiroz. The doctor explains that Post-Covid Syndrome or long covid is a complex multifactorial disease that describes residual symptoms of covid-19 infection. Symptoms and some sequelae occur due to the fact that covid is an inflammatory disease.
“From a viral disease, after overcoming covid, patients develop an immune or immunological disease. This severe residual inflammation throughout the body leads to a cytokine storm that inflames the vascular endothelium that will be responsible for provoking prolonged symptoms and sequelae. The post-covid starts from the third week of the disease, after the patients are cured, and can last for months”, explains Queiroz.
According to the pulmonologist, the symptoms and sequelae of post-covid appear more often in patients who had a more serious disease. But they can also arise in patients who have had a milder disease, such as that caused by the recent Omicron variant. In addition, post-covid symptoms can arise at any age.
“The most frequent and persistent symptoms of post-covid are fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, headache, attention and concentration disorders, memory lapses and hair loss. The most important sequel, as it is an irreversible lesion, is pulmonary fibrosis. We can’t forget about the increased risk of thrombosis both during the disease and in the post-covid period “, highlights the pulmonologist.
In addition to post-covid symptoms, researchers are also looking at the possibility that the sequelae of acute covid-19 are associated with autoimmune diseases. One of these studies, for example, was carried out by specialists at the Hospital das Clínicas at UFPE (Federal University of Pernambuco) and analyzed post-covid symptoms that may be associated with Sjögren’s Syndrome (SS), an autoimmune disease characterized by dryness in the eyes and mouth. . In the coming years, several studies will be carried out to explain the relationship between covid-19 and other diseases.
“It is still too early to draw any conclusions. Since Covid is an inflammatory disease, it could be the cause or trigger for the emergence of autoimmune diseases. But there is still nothing concrete and many studies will still have to be carried out”, highlights Queiroz.
Finally, the doctor highlights that it is estimated that in Brazil there are already more than 3 million people (10% of covid cases) who have developed Post-Covid Syndrome. Because it is a serious condition, unpleasant symptoms, many disabling that can lead to a significant decrease in the quality of life of patients who have had the disease, it is necessary for the patient to seek medical attention and for the health system to be prepared to attend to these patients who developed the long covid.