The number of patients with long COVID is increasing. “Brain fog”, anxiety disorders and even dementia

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As part of the STOP-COVID project (www.stop-covid.pl), Dr. Chudzik has examined over 2.3 thousand people for over a year. patients with complications after COVID-19. He noted that the number of patients reporting was not decreasing. Every month there are about 200 of them, and if it were not for the limited capabilities of the team in which, apart from cardiologists, work, among others, lung disease specialists, psychologists, neurologists and dermatologists, there would certainly be more.

– After one year of research, several conclusions can be drawn from them. First of all, that the long-term effects of COVID-19 are much more serious than we originally assumed. With each successive wave, the percentage of patients with symptoms related to it increases three months after the infection. In spring 2020 it was 50%, in autumn 60%, and in this year’s spring wave – 70%. What will happen after the current wave, we will see only in the first months of 2022 – the cardiologist told PAP.

In about 40 percent. of patients in care, symptoms persist even one year after contracting COVID-19. Most often, convalescents complain of chronic fatigue. In turn, 16 percent. has neurological disorders related to cognition and memory like “brain fog” or even dementia.

– These are young people who have not suffered from any diseases before. Their average age is 50 years – added Dr. Chudzik.

Post-inflammatory changes in the heart are a frequent complication, and recently cardiologists have also noticed an increase in the number of patients with permanent damage to this organ, requiring specialized treatment.

The expert admitted that the group of patients against whom medicine seems to be completely helpless are people with impaired smell and taste. – We are even trying unconventional methods, because so far we do not have any therapy that could help them – he added.

Treatment of convalescents complaining of chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety disorders and “brain fog” gives good results.

A comprehensive postovid rehabilitation program covering physical condition, psychological and dietary support is effective. After its implementation, 80-90 percent. patients recover very quickly.

– We use modern methods, not reimbursed by the National Health Fund, such as supplementation or mitochondrial therapy, strengthening the energy structures in our cells. It consists in the fact that the patient breathes air with alternating low and high oxygen content. (…) The body is then mobilized to the increased production of red blood cells, iron, and all this is associated with greater production of energy in the mitochondria. So far, this therapy has been used by athletes after strenuous physical exertion. The method has been described in many disorders – “brain fog”, dementia in the elderly, cardiac rehabilitation. We hope that it will be effective also for those recovering from COVID-19 – said Dr. Chudzik.

Doctor: Dementia in very young people is a challenge

Patients with neurological disorders, on the other hand, benefit from training using a PlayStation-like device to force their brains to be active and learn. According to the expert, dementia disorders that appear in very young people, including in a 30-year-old patient.

– The dementia processes in the brain will progress, we can only slow them down or do anything to prevent them from starting, but we cannot reverse them. We believe that the brain of young people is more plastic, that the changes occurring in it are not constant as in seniors. However, one can make a general observation that the pandemic and the accompanying limitations that force us to isolate, sit at home, often in front of a computer screen, may accelerate the aging of societies – believes the cardiologist.

Two factors of severe infection – overwork and lack of sleep

A significant group of respondents – over 30% – before COVID-19, she had no chronic diseases. The analyzes show that the severity of the course of coronavirus infection was influenced by two factors – overwork and poor sleep physiology.

– Twice as many people who went to bed too late had a long COVID with severe mileage. It is worth knowing that the first hours of sleep are the most important – from 23 to 2. That’s when we produce the most melatonin, which is the strongest stimulator of our immune system. If we miss these hours, we will not make up for it with sleep length. If we work in front of a computer screen or watch TV right before going to bed, the brain is stimulated so much that after we go to sleep it still works – and melatonin is not secreted either – explained Dr. Chudzik.

Equally harmful, in his opinion, is sleeping in a room with a TV set or a cell phone with blue light turned on, because despite our eyes closed, the light reaches the brain and gives a signal that we are awake. Then no melatonin will be produced either.

Researchers were surprised that frequent physical activity of young patients did not affect the course of long COVID. However, when they checked people over 65 in this respect, it turned out that being active helped them recover. Where does this difference come from? The secret is in the types of activity. Resilience is strengthened by regular, moderate activities that are closer to recreation, and not excessive exertion, such as running marathons.

Obese people go through COVID-19 harder, which did not surprise Dr. Chudzik’s team, because obesity is a chronic inflammation that the body constantly struggles with and which negatively affects the efficiency of the immune system.

But when we looked at cases of “brain fog”, people with a low body mass index (BMI) below 18 were the largest group with this disorder. We can’t explain that yet. Perhaps this is an influence of personality, because extremely thin people do not always enjoy good health. Maintaining a good BMI 25-28 may be better than strict diets, the cardiologist believes.

According to the latest WHO definition, the so-called long COVID (long COVID) means at least one ailment within three months of the detection or suspicion of SARS-CoV-2 infection. It must last for at least two months and cannot be explained by any other disease. Symptoms may appear during the acute form of COVID-19 disease, and then persist, but also make themselves felt for the first time after recovery.

Long COVID is manifested by fatigue, shortness of breath, and cognitive impairment. Patients experience chest pain, changes in taste and smell, muscle weakness and palpitations.

– Of course, it can be said that my research does not cover all COVID-19 patients, because those who feel well do not come to me. However, thanks to them, we can confirm that the long-term effects of the infection can be serious and cannot be compared with any other viral disease. It is not an ordinary flu, as some say, and the following years will show it, because people with distant symptoms will still need help, emphasized Dr. Chudzik. (PAP)

author: Agnieszka Grzelak-Michałowska / agm / joz /

Coronavirus: all current information and recommendations on gov.pl

About Peter Wilson

In love with technology, with an eye towards smartphones, he does not disdain any activity linked to the Nerd world. TV series, movies, manga, anime, and comics (Marvel addicted) are the order of the day.

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