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Long Covid: “It’s been a year since I felt like myself” | Long Covid

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Today is an anniversary that George Henken never imagined. It’s been exactly one year since she caught Covid-19. But unlike most people who suffer from this illness, she remains ill.

“It’s been a year since I felt like myself,” she said. “It’s been a year since I knew my life was over, and I don’t know if I’m going to get it back again.”

Henken’s life before the virus broke out was the life of a typical film producer. I worked for 12 hours in movies such as Edgar Wright’s new documentary. Sparks Brothers, Juggle 100 tasks while relaxing on a hike or wild swimming in the river near her house in Dorset.

She hasn’t swam for months. She spent three months in bed after getting sick. Replacing the seat is a day’s work. And she has a mist of brains that she won’t let go.

Longcovid does not fully explain the depth of her fatigue. “It’s not tired. It’s like jet lag and a hangover. It feels like poisoned,” she said.

The problem for Henken and the thousands of people who are still suffering from the virus months later is that long Covid doesn’t explain at all.

Comprehensive terminology includes those who are out of breath and tired, those who have brain fog, headaches, tingling in the arms, those who have chest pain or palpitations, or all of them and dozens of other symptoms. ..

Support group LongCovid SOS etc. We’ve been fighting hard to be aware of the condition and take it seriously – patients say they feel incredible, and doctors initially have little information, support, or even funding. It was.

Last week the government Announced £ 18.5m Through the National Institutes of Health, four seek to understand exactly what Covid means, why it affects many clearly healthy people, and how they can help them. Fund major research. A study at University College London tracks the health of 60,000 people, including those with long Covids and controls who wear Fitbit-style wristbands to measure heart rate, breathing, and exercise levels.

The goal is to graph and identify symptom clusters, said Professor West Chaturvedi. “In my sense, the variety of symptoms people are reporting suggests to me and many others that it is not one thing, but several syndromes. It’s not even a starting point for knowing what it is, “she said.

Not only do people have a long experience with Covid, but some, like Chelsie Hoxby, appear to be suffering from a growing variety of symptoms. An avid runner, a 37-year-old woman, was infected with the virus at the end of January last year.

It started with a cough that lasted 3 months, then turned into wheezing and shortness of breath in the chest, followed by intermittent stomach pain, severe muscle aches after 6 months, dizziness, weak legs, and back pain.

Chelsea Hoxby
Chelsea Hoxby has been suffering from a variety of symptoms since catching Covid in January 2020.

“The most upset thing for me was that I felt better,” she said. “I had Covid, I was pretty poor, but I got better. And suddenly in November, I wasn’t very good. And I find it very difficult. I think I have a long Covid, but in reality no one has confirmed it. “

Hoxby introduces a long Covid clinic at University College London Hospitals. This clinic was the first hospital to start treating patients when the clinic was established last May. NHS The UK currently outsources more than 70 similar clinics.

The clinic began after doctors went to UCLH’s emergency department but called follow-up calls to people who were in good condition to go home.

“Four weeks after Covid, we found that about 40% of them still showed difficult symptoms, which really surprised us,” said Dr. Melissa Heitmann, clinical leader of UCLH’s Covid follow-up service. Said.

What started with an ad hoc, unfunded service became a full-fledged clinic with more than 1,000 participants, with teams from a variety of disciplines, from respiratory specialists to cardiologists, neurologists, and physiotherapists. I did.

This experience has led Heightman and her colleagues to consider long Covids in three broad categories.

“The main symptoms of non-hospitalized patients are fatigue and shortness of breath,” she said. “And we are beginning to recognize different symptom patterns in different patients against the backdrop of this shortness of breath and malaise.”

Some people have neurological symptoms: headaches, migraines, tingling, weakness in the arms and legs. “And cognitive problems, so-called brain fog, multitasking problems-it’s like brain fatigue, and overdoing it can exacerbate brain fog and physical fatigue. there is.”

Another cluster seems to be centered around the nervous system. “A significant number of our patients say that when they try to work, they have difficulty palpitations, dizziness and sometimes chest pain,” said Heitman, who said this was related to uprightness. I added. She said some patients responded to beta-blockers and a heart-inflammatory drug called colchicine.

In many cases, patients appear to have no obvious damage to the heart, lungs, or kidneys, while others appear to have persistent damage to blood vessels in the lungs.

The good news for some long Covid patients is that the situation improves. “I think there was a real, real improvement in at least one-third, eight or nine of patients each month,” Heitman said. “We definitely didn’t expect it to be 12 months, but we didn’t expect that proportion of patients to still have so many difficult symptoms.

“For more severe and longer Covid patients, more than half of the patients seen in the clinic have symptoms that last up to a year.”

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