Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, or PASC, is the official new name for “long Covid,” which until recently was not even believed to exist. Last year, a survey of 1,567 “long-haulers” identified the top 10 problems faced by patients who are supposedly over it. (Of course, many suffer from multiple symptoms.). Here they are:
66.8% Muscle or body aches
65.1% Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
59.0% Difficulty concentrating or focusing
58.5% Inability to exercise or be active
49.9% Difficulty sleeping
45.6% Memory problems
Then, there are all the additional problems that don’t even make the Top Ten, like nausea, severe acid reflux, loss of appetite, and GI tract disorders including diarrhea for weeks; extreme tachycardia (racing heartbeat), fever, rashes on the skin and broken blood vessels visible beneath it; nerve pain in hands and legs, tremors, seizures, agonizing sinus pain, dry cough, loss of feeling in arms and hands, phantom smells, tinnitus, and hypersensitivity to noise and light. Patients have also reported such random problems as viral arthritis and loss of vision in one eye.
The aforementioned muscle and body aches include stiff neck, aching ribs, chest pain, back pain, kidney pain, and a burning sensation in the chest. The fatigue feels terminal, and a person might be able to function with something resembling normalcy for as little as four hours per day. The “difficulty in concentrating or focusing” encompasses confusion, brain fog, loss of cognitive function, and word loss.
A person might struggle to understand words on a page or screen; find it difficult to follow a conversation; and even — having supposedly recovered weeks or months ago — forget their own partner’s name. That’s how bad it is.
Writer Eleanor Cummins recorded the testimony of a 32-year-old patient:
It’s such a different disease than [I] have ever experienced before,” she says. “You know you have it. It feels like it’s searching through your body,” looking for vulnerable new tissues to penetrate.
And in finding new territory to invade and conquer, the virus succeeds abundantly. It sounds crazy, but people have reported over 100 different manifestations of PASC. Researchers are making it official with documentation. At an Indiana University, reports were logged of 98 different symptoms experienced by long-haulers. National Institutes of Health (NPH) is actively seeking analyses of data in aid of figuring out what is going on with this now-acknowledged very real problem.
All this has been background and prelude to the discussion in upcoming posts.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “New Survey Identifies 98 Long-Lasting Covid Symptoms,” Medium.com, 08/13/20
Source: “Almost a third of people with ‘mild’ Covid-19 still battle symptoms months later, study finds,” CNN.com, 02/19/21
Source: Dani Oliver on Twitter, 07/03/20
Source: “Guidelines Say Covid-19 Symptoms Last Two Weeks. Survivors Know Better.,” Medium.com, 05/20/20
Source: “‘Dying not only worry’: Coronavirus ‘long-hauler’ details horrific symptoms,” Yahoo.com, 08/02/20
Image by Sodanie Chea/CC BY 2.0