YOUR HEALTH: A lifetime of long COVID-19

COVID-19 may be in the rearview when it comes to a public health emergency, but for some with long-COVID, it's still a real problem going forward.
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 10:00 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - Concerns are growing for people who have had COVID-19 but have never gotten rid of their symptoms.

When symptoms last longer than one month, doctors explain that a person is experiencing long-COVID.

For some people, their health has been impacted for years. That’s the reality for one woman. Her COVID-19 symptoms lasted long after she tested negative. A year and a half later, her life is still not back to normal.

“It feels like someone is taking and they’re just squeezing my heart,” she expresses.

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 Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.

Long-COVID symptoms can also impact a patient’s brain.

“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,” Dr. Al-Aly adds.

Doctors said that people who suffer long-COVID are at an increased risk for 44 conditions of the brain.

After analyzing 150,000 COVID patients, doctors also found long-COVID can cause a spike in cholesterol and gastrointestinal problems, ulcers, Gerd, and it can impact liver function.

“It’s really a lot of different things that can manifest differently in different patients,” Dr. Al-Aly says.

Some people may feel the effects for the rest of their lives.

“Long after this pandemic recedes from public view, we’re gonna be left with the legacy, or the aftermath of this pandemic,” Dr. Al-Aly said.

The government ended the public health emergency for COVID-19 in May. That means that responsibility for payment for COVID vaccines, testing, and treatment has switched to insurers. Depending on your insurer, you may have to pay a co-pay for the vaccine, testing, and treatments related to COVID-19. In addition, over-the-counter tests are no longer covered.

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