Home » Heart Health » The Importance of Monitoring Heart Health for Long COVID Patients
A mild or moderate COVID-19 infection lasts approximately two weeks in most patients. In others, however, the long-term effects of COVID-19 can cause persistent health issues even after their fever and cough have subsided, and they no longer test positive for the illness. Sometimes symptoms may last longer. This condition is known as ‘long COVID’ or ‘post-COVID-19 syndrome’ and refers to the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection that can last from weeks to months. The people who experience long COVID are called ‘long-haulers’ and include individuals with both mild and severe cases of COVID-19. The majority of long-haulers test negative for COVID-19 despite persistent symptoms.
Research (ref. link) indicates that 50 to 80% of people who recover from COVID-19 experience at least some lingering side effects three months after coronavirus infection. Data shows that 7.5% of adults in the U.S., or about 1 in 13 people, will experience long COVID symptoms. According to British researchers (ref. link), about 10% of COVID-19 survivors that are hospitalized can have long-term health issues. Women reported symptoms at higher rates than men. They made up 72% of the COVID-19 long-haulers.
Long COVID patients should monitor their heart health because COVID-19 has been shown to have potential cardiovascular effects, such as heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis) and blood clots. Additionally, the prolonged stress and fatigue associated with long COVID can also have an impact on heart health. By monitoring heart health, long COVID patients can detect and address any potential issues early on, which can help prevent further complications and improve overall recovery. This can include monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol, and other cardiovascular risk factors and being aware of any symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. Track your heart health with a Smart Heart Monitor like the Frontier X2.
People with long COVID have a wide range of symptoms that vary from person to person. They can last weeks, months, or even years after infection. According to a survey by Dr. Natalie Lambert in a California study, long COVID symptoms can appear at regular intervals, often a week or ten days apart. These are the most commonly reported symptoms of post-COVID-19 syndrome:
It can be challenging to distinguish between COVID-19 and other causes of symptoms, such as a pre-existing medical condition. It is also unclear if the post-COVID-19 syndrome is unique to COVID-19. Some symptoms resemble chronic fatigue syndrome and other diseases that develop after infections. According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics (ref. link)), the most common long Covid symptoms reported were:
Some people may be more likely to be affected by long COVID than others like:
There is no diagnostic test that is universally accepted as a definitive measure for identifying people with long-term symptoms of COVID-19. Consult your physician if you experience any of the long-lasting COVID symptoms. Your doctor may suggest a few tests to determine how long COVID affects you.
These tests could include:
Your physician handles medical management like
o Respiratory- if suspected pulmonary embolism or pneumonia.
o Cardiology – if suspected MI, myocarditis, or palpitations.
o Neurology- if suspected neurovascular changes.
Older individuals, women, and those with a more severe Covid-19 infection (five or more symptoms in the first week) are more likely to develop long Covid.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that long COVID is contagious, as it is not caused by the virus but rather by the body’s response to it.
If you have long COVID, you might test positive, usually on a PCR test. This is because the PCR test detects the virus’s genetic material and not necessarily the presence of a live virus. However, it’s also possible that you would test negative on a PCR test if you have long COVID, as the viral load in your body may be low enough that the test does not detect it.
Recovery from long COVID can vary. Some symptoms may improve rapidly, while others may persist longer. Your physician can help you manage your symptoms effectively. The recovery time for long COVID can vary significantly from person to person. Some people may recover within a few weeks or months, while others may experience symptoms for much longer. Some symptoms may be chronic and persist for months or even years.
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