Concerns are growing about people who got COVID-19 but never got rid of the symptoms.
It’s called long-covid, which means symptoms last for more than a month.
But for some people, their health has been impacted for years now.
“That night, my oxygen level dropped really low. I didn’t think I was going to make it,” said Julie, a victim of COVID.
That was the beginning, but Julie’s COVID-19 symptoms lasted long after she tested negative.
“It affected my heart, my lungs, my nervous system,” she recalled.
A year and a half later, Julie’s life is still not back to normal.
“It feels like someone is taking and they’re just squeezing my heart,” she explained.
Epidemiologists are finding long-covid is more than just a respiratory disease.
“In some patients, it can manifest as heart attacks or heart failure,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, clinical epidemiologist with Washington University School of Medicine. “A lot of patients are actually having strokes and we found that people are having brain inflammation. People are having symptoms that are almost reminiscent of Parkinson’s disease or early Alzheimer’s disease.”
In fact, people who suffer long-covid are at an increased risk for 44 conditions of the brain. Analyzing 150,000 COVID patients, doctors also found long-covid can cause a spike in cholesterol and gastrointestinal problems, ulcers, gird and it can impact liver function.
“It’s really pretty much a lot of different things that can manifest differently in different patients.” Dr. Al-Aly said. “Long after this pandemic recedes from public view, we’re going to be left with the legacy, or the aftermath of this pandemic.”