- Doctors are finding that coronavirus patients can endure lingering symptoms for months after their initial diagnosis.
- Some of the more common long-term coronavirus symptoms include fatigue and cough.
- More severe long-term coronavirus symptoms, though less common, include lung damage, heart damage, and depression.
While the most common COVID-19 symptoms tend to align closely with what one might typically experience with the flu, the full list of possible coronavirus symptoms is much more expansive. If anything, it sometimes seems that we can’t go a few weeks without hearing about a new symptom endured by coronavirus patients.
The coronavirus is a particularly nasty virus because it can also cause a number of serious long-term symptoms. Indeed, a growing number of coronavirus patients report enduring a number of lingering symptoms that persist for months after their initial diagnosis. There are also indications that many coronavirus patients can experience long-term symptoms they didn’t endure during their initial sickness, an affliction has since been given the name Long COVID.
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In light of the above, the CDC earlier this week updated its list of long-term coronavirus symptoms. Per the updated list, the most commonly reported long-term symptoms include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Joint pain
- Chest pain
The list above, of course, aligns quite well with a handful of studies which have monitored the experience of Long COVID patients. Other symptoms associated with Long COVID include the following:
- Difficulty with thinking and concentration (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
- Muscle pain
- Intermittent fever
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
The “brain fog” ailment is particularly interesting in light of recent studies on the phenomenon. For example, a recent study involving 84,000 coronavirus patients relayed that the cognitive issues associated with Long COVID include memory loss and trouble concentrating for prolonged periods of time. What’s more, the study in question found that the cognitive decline seen in some Long COVID patients is equivalent to the brain aging 10 years.
Aside from the above, the CDC also lists out a number of more serious Long COVID symptoms that tend to appear less frequently.
- Cardiovascular: inflammation of the heart muscle
- Respiratory: lung function abnormalities
- Renal: acute kidney injury
- Dermatologic: rash, hair loss
- Neurological: smell and taste problems, sleep issues, difficulty with concentration, memory problems
- Psychiatric: depression, anxiety, changes in mood
With respect to the lungs, a study out of Austria this past September found that 88% of hospitalized coronavirus patients showed signs of lung damage six weeks after leaving the hospital. This figure dropped down to 56% twelve weeks after discharge.
“The bad news is that people show lung impairment from COVID-19 weeks after discharge,” Dr. Sabina Sahanic said regarding the aforementioned study. “The good news is that the impairment tends to ameliorate over time, which suggests the lungs have a mechanism for repairing themselves.”
What’s particularly scary is that some coronavirus patients who were completely asymptomatic can sometimes develop Long COVID symptoms. In other words, the long-term symptoms associated with the coronavirus doesn’t exclusively impact patients who require hospitalization. All told, the extent to which someone with Long COVID symptoms can make a full recovery remains to be seen.