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Post-illness symptoms such as long covid are probably more common than we think.Megan Hosey

MeOver the last few months, Covid has received a lot of media and public attention. According to a survey 1 in 4 infected In the case of Covid, perhaps millions of people in the United States alone suffer from chronic long-term symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, abdominal pain, heart problems, malaise, anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairment.

It is a difficult and complex illness and we have to do more to help those who are suffering from it. At the same time, it is important to recognize that long covids, rather than strange special cases, are probably part of a wider range of phenomena that affect more people. In recent years, doctors and researchers have found that many who have survived any type of illness or who have experienced serious physical trauma are at risk of various debilitating and chronic physical, cognitive and mental health symptoms. Is becoming more and more noticeable. It’s a lot like a long Covid.

In this context, it is not surprising to find that many patients infected with Covid are tackling a series of persistent health problems. This is not to minimize long Covids, but to explain them in a broader context.

Part of this problem is a by-product of medical change. Over the last half century, as medicine has advanced, clinicians have learned how to save hundreds of thousands of seriously ill or injured patients who would have previously died. This is an amazing achievement.

However, in many cases survival does not mean a complete recovery. Some patients find that their bodies, brains, and minds continue to suffer the wounds they have experienced. One non-Covid study One year after admission, one-third of patients with severe respiratory failure or shock were found to have severe cognitive impairment. another One-quarter to one-third of patients treated in the ICU were found to have significant, long-term symptoms of anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Researchers have found similar results in survivors of other medical conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and ALS.

Unfortunately, people with long Covids and other chronic post-illness symptoms often find that medical institutions do not understand their experience, so they minimize or ask questions. increase. This is not surprising. Clinicians tend to pay less attention to behavior after a patient with a serious illness has emerged from a fatal danger or after symptoms have exceeded any time frame.

Researchers do not yet fully understand the physical causes of these chronic symptoms. It is clear that long covids and long versions of other illnesses and injuries are not psychosomatic. There is a physiological basis for these conditions. Among the possible causes are persistent dysfunction of the inflammatory and immune response caused by the initial illness or injury. In some cases, illness or injury can leave permanent damage, much like a person with a broken leg drags and walks.

In the case of Covid, this situation can be exacerbated by the details of the illness. Chronic symptoms appear to be especially common after severe respiratory illness – Covid often does. NS study It was found that more than 80% of patients who survived acute respiratory failure and were ventilated in the ICU experienced physical, cognitive, and / or mental health problems after discharge. In addition, Covid can affect a variety of physical symptoms, so there are many possible pathways for lasting effects.

So what can we do to help these people with a long Covid, or a long version of other conditions? One key is self-management. Patients with chronic post-illness problems learn to effectively address many of the symptoms associated with their condition, make decisions, coordinate activities, and build effective relationships with clinicians. can do. Through self-management, patients become active agents who monitor their condition.Multiple studies including This one Beginning in 2019, teaching patients this approach has been shown to significantly improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, most hospitals and clinicians are not equipped to teach self-management, so they are used much less.

Another useful strategy is peer support to help patients share information and become part of the community. The feeling of enduring alone can be very intriguing. (Of course, it’s also important to note that unmoderated peer support can contribute to unhealthy hyperawakening (excessive concentration on symptoms) and dissemination of false information.)

However, the patient cannot do this alone. Medical institutions must do much more to set up clinics and programs to help people with these problems. And scientists and funding agencies need to focus more on elucidating the complex mechanisms that cause these conditions and on potential strategies for alleviating symptoms.

Beyond that, we must continue to spread the word. This will help the general public better understand that serious illnesses and injuries are often long-term conditions. As awareness increases, healthcare providers, funders, family members, colleagues and others take this situation seriously. Millions of people with long covids and similar conditions continue to suffer and we have to do more to help them.

Post-illness symptoms such as long covid are probably more common than we think.Megan Hosey

Source link Post-illness symptoms such as long covid are probably more common than we think.Megan Hosey

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